Use of Routine Health Information for Decision Making among Health Care Workers in Marsabit County, Kenya
Asafa Aila, Mohamed
MetadataShow full item record
Globally, health agencies have delved in strengthening health systems as a means of improving health outcomes. In Kenya today, the management of the public health facilities at different levels is more concerned about the collection and reporting of routine health data through District Health Information Software (DHIS2) but little is known on how individual facilities analyze report and disseminate the same for use in making informed decisions at the facility level. Yet in spite of the introduction of DHIS2, recent evidence has shown very low levels of data demand and use by the targeted stockholders in Kenya. Generally, there is a concerted effort by both the government and the international bodies to accelerate the collection of health data, but little efforts have been made to ensure its utilization at facility levels. The current study assessed the factors associated with the use of routine health information for decision making among health care workers. The study employed descriptive cross-sectional design. Researchers purposively stratified 201 health workers by cadre, and then probability proportionate sampling was applied to get the required number from every cadre. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Quantitative data was entered into the SPSS software, descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were used to analyze the data. Whereas qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The study found that the overall Routine Health Information (RHI) used was evidently below average at 47.1% in decision-making across six management functions. However, RHI was above averagely used for medical supply at 54%, service delivery at 57%, and identification of gaps at 56%. It was below averagely used for the formulation of plans, budgeting, and staffing decisions. It was also found that the health facilities lacked sufficient IT accessories. Nevertheless, internet access was at 71 % and electricity supply at 84 % implying access was not limited. The type of software use had a significant association with the frequent use of RHI at a p-value (0.028<0.05). The majority 74% of respondents had basic computer skills but 80% of respondents lacked training in health information management. The study concluded that the use of RHI in decision-making was below average and training increases the likelihoods of healthcare workers utilizing RHI. Also, computers and the types of software were likely to influence the use of RHI. The study recommends that the County government of Marsabit should embrace the adoption of the electronic medical record system in all health facilities to strengthen the practice of RHI use in decision-making across all health system blocks. In addition, the County government should increase the availability of IT accessories in health facilities to enhance data management practices. Further, the study recommends that the County should provide continuous training for HCWs by focusing computer literacy and data management through on-job training, and refresher courses.