National Health Information System: A Necessity in Cameroon
AbstractHaving reliable data on the performance of different parts of the health system is the only way to devise, execute, and measure health interventions. In Cameroon, the National Health Information System (NHIS) is suboptimal and faces a considerate number of shortcomings. This system which consists of data collection, processing, reporting, and use of the information necessary for improving health care services has not been effectively implemented in Cameroon as required. The inefficiency of the NHIS in Cameroon is linked to the poor quality of data collected, insufficient training of health workers on data collection and management methods, lack of motivation among health services personnel, poor use of information at different levels of the health system, little/no availability of usable health information. Actions need to be taken to reform the NHIS such as putting in place a performant platform for data collection and management, recruiting and training technical health personnel for data quality assurance, better data management and its use for decision-making at each level of the health system pyramid. Also, there is need for refresher trainings for data managers at all levels of the health system at least twice a year on the various data collection tools and procedures. Better coordination and follow-up of data managers/clerks at all levels of the system will greatly improve the quality of data collected as well as its completeness and timeliness. The routine NHIS is suboptimal, fragmented, and not integrated thus failing to timely provide relevant information for informed health decision making. Information should be properly valorized at different levels of the pyramid. The necessity of an effective and efficient health information system in Cameroon needs not to be over-emphasized.
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