Three eLearning videos depicting the importance of accurate health data collection have been developed for South African healthcare workers.

The animated videos were created by Assistant Professor of Global Health Management and Policy at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Dr Valerie Yeager, as part of a five-year project by Tulane and MEASURE Evaluation SIFSA, a USAID-funded project to improve health data collection and improve strategic information capacity in South Africa.

Each video is a few minutes long and clearly explains the need for and the process of obtaining health data during routine health visits and reporting this information up the chain.

The first video: The “Why” and “How” of Routine Health Information Systems at My Facility describes the South African routine health information system, which collects data at health facilities and transmits it onward to the National Department of Health, examining why maintaining data quality is crucial along this path.

The second video: The “Why” and “How” of Data Quality at My Facility describes how inconsistent and incomplete data gathered at health facilities causes problems as managers try to make decisions based on evidence. The video explains how the three Cs – Consistency, Correctness, and Completeness leads to better data, better decisions and better healthcare.

The third video: The “Why” and “How” of Standardised Data Collection at My Facility describes why it’s not enough for several health facilities to have good data if others do not. It goes on to explain why South Africa has established a national indicator data set to ensure useful health information and informed decision making to provide appropriate and quality health care.

“When we’re talking about collecting health data necessary for decision-making at health facilities as well as district, provincial and national health levels, the adage of ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’ comes to mind,” said Dr Yeager.

“We have to start with correct and consistent data collection in health facilities in order for the information to be useful for health policy making,” concluded Dr Yeager.

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