Building systems for the future

Supervisory tool testing at Nimule Hospital, South Sudan

Mo has just returned from South Sudan, where he was working with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Health Information Systems Programme to support the Ministry of Health (MoH) in exploring the next generation of health systems. During the visit he explored three types of system; hospital information systems, the District Health Information Software 2 and supervisory tools for health facilities.

South Sudan’s primary healthcare Heath Management Information System (HMIS) is well established across the country, functioning very well hand-in-hand with international fund managers such as the Health Pooled Fund. This success has taken some years to accomplish under the stewardship of the MoH, as a phased approach has been taken. The system has been resilient to the recent crisis due to the skills of the South Sudanese staff involved across the country.

The team looked at expanding the HMIS to include hospital information systems. Pilot tools had been circulated to hospitals in July and Mo visited the three pilot sites to see how they were getting on: Nimule Hospital supported by Save the Children, El Sabah Children’s Hospital and Wau Teaching Hospital. The paper-based tools had been implemented successfully across all pilot sites and the hospital staff suggested a number of revisions to make them work even more effectively. The visits allowed one-to-one mentoring and troubleshooting that would not have been possible in a workshop.

Mo, with technical support from HISP organised the first DHIS 2 training course in South Sudan, for advanced local users. The course provided a platform for participants to learn the basics of the system and to start discussions on system implementation.

The visit also explored improvements to the MoH supervisory tool and associated guideline, which will be disseminated later this year. The revision aimed to focus the tool on providing a minimum benchmark for all facilities, as well as making the guideline more interactive. The current supervision checklist can be found here.