|A large amount of health information is routinely collected in many parts of the health system.
SARRAH is supporting the development of a national health information centre with up-to-date information on all aspects of health and health systems in South Africa.
The National Health Information Repository and Data Warehouse (NHIRD) is a giant ‘data warehouse’ integrating data from various specialist information systems.
A large amount of South African health information is already routinely collected, but it is scattered in many databases: there is information on health and disease, as well as all aspects of national and provincial health departments and facilities. Other government departments also collect statistics and socio-economic information that are relevant to health. Donors and research projects continually generate valuable health information. The NHIRD is integrating the information from all these sources so that it can be used by national and provincial health departments to plan and strengthen the delivery of health services. This integrated database is seen as essential for the smooth functioning of the forthcoming National Heath Insurance scheme.
SARRAH has funded a team of specialists to develop the database and infrastructure. The work is being done by the independent service provider, Health Information Systems Programme (HISP), which designed the department’s original District Health Information System (DHIS).HISP is also training staff to maintain and use the centres.
The NHIRD, which is housed on the 16th floor of the NDOH's Civitas building, is already up and running and has been demonstrated to journalists, development partners and other stakeholders. Work is currently underway to create mechanisms that will allow provincial health departments to access the information in the national database via the internet. NDOH and provincial staff have been trained on how to access and use the information sytem.
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