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Community Contribution

Learning by Doing: Building the Evidence Base for Health Information System Strengthening Globally

Heidi Reynolds
Addressing health systems needs globally requires effective resource allocation and the ability to make decisions based on available information. In low- and middle-income countries, financial, and many times human, resources are limited and yet policymakers are required to make decisions to improve health systems and population health. Ideally, they would have access to high-quality data in a strong health information system (HIS). The right information in the hands of the right people at the right time enables timely response to disease threats and ready resources to help improve health. 
But in many settings, the backbone of the health system—the HIS—is lacking. MEASURE Evaluation—a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development—has a mandate to work globally to strengthen capacity for robust data collection, analysis, and use. Working with partners in more than 40 countries for this goal, we have the opportunity to learn about what investments to strengthen HIS yield in diverse contexts. We are building a body of evidence that has not existed before—for this project or for others working with HIS. We collaborate with a diverse group of technical experts and stakeholders, use a systematic approach to learning while doing, and use our learning to adapt our approach along the way. Through this process, we have been building an evidence base of what works to strengthen HIS, not only for our project, but also for others working in the field.

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