Digitalization in Health
The success of Bangladesh in the use of information and communication technology for health is recognized widely and has drawn global attention. The Government’s 2010 ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision accelerated digital health initiatives with its vision of “Quality healthcare services to doorsteps of all citizens”. The initiative “Health Information System (HIS) & e-health” has been started in 2009 to improve population, program and institution based HIS and eHealth. This system provides the basic information for planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the health system at all levels.
The Overall objective of the practice is to ensure a reliable health information management system through adaptation of new technologies and data quality for evidence-based decision-making process.
Meeting ambitious targets of UHC require registering, tracking and responding health needs of each citizens. HIS & eHealth and MIS operational plans of MOHFW is the initiative to strengthen and sustain the Electronic Tracking System (ETS) of citizens' health through an integrated and comprehensive approach to achieve health-related SDGs.
The activities are being continued through two Operational Plans “HIS and eHealth” under Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Management Information System (MIS) under Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) of MOHFW. Laptops and Android Tablets have been provided to the community clinics and other grass root level workers. Programs are active for enrolling information related to each pregnant mother and under-5 children. A uniform 'Health identifier Code' is being provided to every citizen which will be used in making the permanent health record software design linking with the national ID card database. The national e-Health Policy and Strategy has been finalized. Programs regarding admission in medical and dental colleges, human resources management in the health sector, leave and deputation of the doctors, every type of training and higher study management has been digitalized. Health services are being provided through mobile phones from every district and upazila level government hospitals of the country. Skype- based tele-consultation has been introduced alongside the telemedicine service. A full-fledged call center named "Sasthyo Batayan" has been functioning. Besides, from March 2020, Tangail district has been declared as paperless e-MIS in terms of information management regarding family planning, maternal and child health, adolescent and reproductive health services. The target has also been set to bring in all districts under this paperless initiative by 2022.
Fragmented data systems are now integrated in a common data repository, allowing data exchange for health information systems, avoid duplication, monitoring and track the progress of health-related SDG indicators and enables in evidence-based decision-making. The ICT infrastructure created for HIS is being used for improving health service delivery, efficiency of health systems, transparency and accountability. The HIS-DGHS operates a 24/7 health call center helps citizens to instantly get a doctor for health consultation free-of-charge, to call an ambulance from anywhere in the country, to seek any kind of health information, or to lodge complaints against any public or private healthcare provider just calling a phone number 16263.
The enabling factors are the political commitment from Government of Bangladesh, available fund in health sector program, available funding and technical support from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and other UN organization, support from ICT and other relevant ministries etc. The constrains remaining in the HIS are due to organizational structure, duplication of efforts, capacity development and weak culture of data utilization. Coordination and harmonization of HIS of the Directorates and program will be improved by building towards functional linkages between the information systems (including non-governmental and private sectors).
HIS and e-health developed with the assistance of development partners like UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, Save the Children, ICDDRB etc. These systems are updated at least once in a year to add new functionality. HIS team are adequately supported to develop capacity to run the system by themselves and the responsibilities are gradually handed over to MOHFW. Shortage of adequate skilled manpower is an issue; but MOHFW is getting their manpower recruited and might be trained adequately. The Digital Health Strategy (2021-2025) of Bangladesh is near to be finalized which will guide the national policy actions towards advance health and family planning services. The South-South award have set a precedent by recognizing the success of ICT4Health in accelerating the Millennium Development Goals and could encourage Global South countries to follow in the footsteps of nations like Bangladesh.
HIS, MOHFW is playing key role to manage COVID 19 pandemic. IEDCR has always been updating the information in their website . A COVID-19 dashboard of DGHS displays all the COVID 19 information and is updated daily. MOHFW has increased capacity of mhealth services “Shastho Batayon 16263”. DGHS also Providing COVID19 certificates with QR Code widely used by Civil Aviation and immigration authorities worldwide. DGHS with a2i Programme has developed data intelligence platform to analyze and predict requirements and guide resource allocation.
Deliverables & Timeline
There are currently no comments. Please log in to comment.
This initiative covers all public health facilities from Upazila health complex (sub national level) to district and tertiary health facilities in Bangladesh