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In: Management information systems and microcomputers in primary health care, edited by Ronald G. Wilson, Barbara E. Echols, John H. Bryant, and Alexandre Abrantes. Geneva, Switzerland, Aga Khan Foundation, 1988. 17-20.A wide array of issues must be addressed if the development and use of management information system (MIS) and microcomputers are to improve management of primary health care (PHC) programs and increase the equity and cost-effectiveness of PHC. These issues include: specification of the purpose and objectives of MIS at community and district levels; distinquishing types of information required; the understanding of organizational issues that must be resolved as a result of introducing MIS; the practical definition of the most useful indicators of program effectiveness and efficiency; the specification and monitoring of data collection, compilation, and analysis requirements and procedures; procedures for generating and using processed MIS data and management information; the PHC program's capacity to absorb technological innovations; and personnel requirements. The need for improved data systems must be recognized. Data quality and systematic flow of information must be ensured from the field level upwards, and minimum information requirements need to be defined. The success of any MIS is heavily dependent on feedback of the data collected. Unless staff at all levels of a PHC program understand the importance of the data they are collecting, the value and use of the information system will be negligible. Examples of the Egyptian government's National Health Information System and the role of the World Bank are used to show how MIS and microcomputer can be introduced and used in PHC.
Washington, D.C., PAHO, Pan American Sanitary Bureau/Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 1985. xix, 265 p. (Official Document No. 201)Efforts to meet the goal of health for all by the year 2000 have been hampered by the internal and external problems faced by many countries of the Americas. The pressures of external debt have been accompanied by a reduction in the resources allocated to social sector programs, including health programs. In addition, the conflict in Central America has constrained solutions to subregional problems. The health sector suffers from uncoordinated services, lack of trained personnel, and waste. Thus 30-40% of the population do not have access to basic health services. In 1984, the governments in the region, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), undertook projects in 5 action areas: new approaches and technology, development, intra- and intersectoral linkages, joint activities by groups of countries, mobilization of national resources and external financing, and preparation of PAHO to meet the needs of these processes. New approaches include the expansion of epidemiological capabilities and practices, the use of low-cost infant survival strategies, the improvement of rural water supplies, and the development of domestic technology. Interorganizational linkages are aimed at eliminating duplication and filling in gaps. Ministers of health and directors of social security programs are working together to rationalize the health sector and extend coverage of services. Similarly, countries have grouped to deal with common problems and offer coordinated solutions. The mobilization of national resources involves shifting resources into the health field and increasing their efficiency and effectiveness by setting priorities. External resources are recommended if they supplement national efforts and are short-term in nature. In order to enhance these strategies, PAHO has increased the managerial and operating capacity of its central and field offices. This has required consolidating programs, retraining staff, and instituting information systems to monitor activities and budgets. The report summarizes health indicators and activities by country, for all nations under PAHO.