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Management information systems in maternal and child health / family planning programs: a multi-country analysis.
STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING. 1991 Jan-Feb; 22(1):19-30.Management and information systems (MIS) in maternal and child health were surveyed in 40 developing countries by trained consultants using a diagnostic instrument developed by UNFPA and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The instrument covered indicators of input (physical infrastructure, personnel, training, finances, equipment, logistics), output (recipients of services, coverage, efficiency), quality, and impact, as well as frequency, timeliness and reliability of information. The consultants visited national and 2 provincial level administrative and service points of public and private agencies. Information on input was often lacking on numbers and locations of populations with access to services. In 15 countries data were lacking on personnel posts filled and training status. Logistics systems for equipment and supplies were inadequate in most areas except Asia, resulting in shortfalls of all types of materials and vehicles coinciding with idle supplies in warehouses. Financial reporting systems were present in only 13 countries. Service outputs were reported in terms of current users in 13 countries, but the proportion of couples covered was unknown in 25 countries. 2 countries had cost-effectiveness figures. Redundant forms duplicated efforts in half of the countries, while data were not broken down at the usable level of analysis for decision-making in most. Few African countries had either manual or computer capacity to handle all needed data. Family planning data especially was not available to draw the total picture. Often information was available too late to be useful, except in Portuguese speaking countries. Even when quality data existed, managers were frequently unaware of it. It is recommended that training and consultancies be provided for managers and that these types of surveys be repeated periodically.