ehealth digital library

Digital library of
the Tanzania

Enhancing the routine health information system in rural southern Tanzania: successes, challenges and lessons learned.

Maokola, W., Willey, B. A., Shirima, K., Chemba, M., Armstrong Schellenberg, J. R. M., Mshinda, H., Alonso, P., Tanner, M. and Schellenberg, D. (2011) Enhancing the routine health information system in rural southern Tanzania: successes, challenges and lessons learned. Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH, 16 (6). pp. 721-30. ISSN 1365-3156

[img] PDF
Enhancing_the_routine_health_Tanzania.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Affiliated users only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (5MB)



To describe and evaluate the use of handheld computers for the management of Health Management Information System data.


Electronic data capture took place in 11 sentinel health centres in rural southern Tanzania. Information from children attending the outpatient department (OPD) and the Expanded Program on Immunization vaccination clinic was captured by trained local school-leavers, supported by monthly supervision visits. Clinical data included malaria blood slides and haemoglobin colour scale results. Quality of captured data was assessed using double data entry. Malaria blood slide results from health centre laboratories were compared to those from the study's quality control laboratory.


The system took 5 months to implement, and few staffings or logistical problems were encountered. Over the following 12 months (April 2006-March 2007), 7056 attendances were recorded in 9880 infants aged 2-11 months, 50% with clinical malaria. Monthly supervision visits highlighted incomplete recording of information between OPD and laboratory records, where on average 40% of laboratory visits were missing the record of their corresponding OPD visit. Quality of microscopy from health facility laboratories was lower overall than that from the quality assurance laboratory.


Electronic capture of HMIS data was rapidly and successfully implemented in this resource-poor setting. Electronic capture alone did not resolve issues of data completeness, accuracy and reliability, which are essential for management, monitoring and evaluation; suggestions to monitor and improve data quality are made.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: routine health, Malaria, Health eduction, clinical malaria, meidical equipments, laboratory
Subjects: Health Systems > Community Health
Health Systems > Laboratories, diagnostics, equipment
Health Systems > Health Information systems
Divisions: Ifakara Health Institute > Biomedical
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 08:24
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 15:57

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics