National Community Health Information Systems in Four African Countries

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As countries work toward the Sustainable Development Goals, Ministries of Health (MOHs) are increasingly recognizing the vital role of community-based health programming to achieve national and global health goals. At the community level, families receive health services, health education, and other social services delivered by community health workers (CHWs). CHWs have the potential to fill critical gaps in service delivery in communities that lack easy access to other health service providers. To plan, monitor, and evaluate these vital services delivered by CHWs, countries are using and further developing community health information systems (CHIS) that promote community engagement, identify those in need of services, support case management, and ensure accountability.

In countries with high burdens of maternal and child mortality, USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) works with MOHs and their partners to strengthen their community health programming, including CHIS. MCSP’s efforts include strengthening overall systems to ensure data reporting completeness, quality, and use at the country level. In addition to documenting MCSP’s lessons learned through supporting MOHs in four African countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Namibia, and Uganda—to strengthen their CHIS, this report also serves to provide a descriptive profile of each system. This technical report has three primary objectives:

1. To describe the structure and functioning of national CHIS across four African countries,
2. To document MCSP’s contributions to strengthening national CHIS, and
3. To draw lessons learned and serve as a resource for stakeholders to learn more in order to strengthen their national CHIS.

MCSP adapted MEASURE Evaluation’s broader Community-Based Information System Model to produce a framework for developing and implementing CHIS, with a thematic focus on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health. The framework identifies seven key dimensions of a robust CHIS, around which this report organizes its findings. A summary of overall key findings and recommendations is included in this document.

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