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WHO Bulletin: August special theme: Health Information Systems

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  • Tim.Churches
    Thanks to Ken Harvey for the following information. A pity that WHO does not recognise the role of open source software in establishing suitable and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2005
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      Thanks to Ken Harvey for the following information. A pity that WHO
      does not recognise the role of open source software in establishing
      suitable and sustainable health information systems in low and middle
      income countries.

      Tim C

      Ken Harvey wrote:
      > The latest issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO)
      > Volume 83, Number 8, August 2005, 561-640
      > Website at http://www.who.int/bulletin/en/
      > Summaries of a selection of articles from this month's issue:
      > This month's special theme: Health Information Systems
      > <http://www.who.int/bulletin/current/editorials/en/index.html>
      > In the first editorial, Sally Stansfield welcomes growing recognition of
      > the need for more investment in health information systems. Such
      > systems may seem expensive for developing countries, but the costs are
      > offset by improved efficiencies. In another editorial, Kimberlyn M.
      > McGrail & Charlyn Black argue that developing countries starting to set
      > up health information systems can learn from the mistakes of wealthier
      > countries. Middle-to-low-income countries should incorporate mechanisms
      > to ensure that health data can be easily accessed by those who need
      > them. Finally, Tony Williams argues that poor countries should shift to
      > policy-making that is based on evidence by developing a health
      > information system that adapts the existing data situation.
      > Why countries need health information systems
      > <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/news.pdf>
      > In the News, Haroon Ashraf writes that developing countries are under
      > pressure to build and reinforce their health information systems to
      > fulfil donor requirements. In the Bulletin interview, Ties Boerma,
      > Director of WHO Department of Measurement and Health Information
      > Systems, discusses the development of health information systems over
      > the past few decades and why countries need these more than ever today.
      > Health data as integral system
      > <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/578.pdf>
      > In the leading policy and practice paper, Carla AbouZahr & Ties Boerma
      > introduce the theme issue on health information systems and argue that
      > health information should be treated as an integral system. This is
      > difficult when donors determine data priorities based on their own needs
      > and not those of the country as a whole. A further obstacle to a
      > well-functioning health information system is cost, but the authors
      > conclude that investment in such a system can lead to more efficient
      > health-care services and save money in the long term.
      > Data for poverty reduction and Equity challenges
      > Three papers discuss the role of data in poverty reduction and
      > addressing inequities in health. Sarah B. Macfarlane argues
      > <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/590.pdf> ) that efforts to
      > strengthen health information systems in low- and middle-income
      > countries should forge links with data systems in other sectors. Lexi
      > Bambas Nolen et al. <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/597.pdf>
      > review core information requirements for health information systems in
      > seeking to address these inequities and they propose short- and
      > longer-term strategies for strengthening health information systems as a
      > tool to analyse inequities in health. Finally, Vanessa Rommelmann et al.
      > (pp. 569-577 <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/569.pdf>
      > describe how they examined nine systems that provide a range of health
      > and other information in the United Republic of Tanzania.
      > Monitoring vaccine safety in Viet Nam
      > <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/8/604.pdf>
      > Health information systems to monitor vaccine safety are used in
      > industrialized countries to detect adverse events related to
      > vaccinations. Such systems are often absent in developing countries and
      > are urgently needed. In his article, Lorenz von Seidlein describes a
      > study in which he used a large linked database to monitor
      > vaccine-related adverse events in Khanh Hoa province, Viet Nam. The
      > study confirmed the safety of a measles vaccination campaign and showed
      > that it is feasible to establish health information systems to provide
      > reliable data in a developing country at low cost.
      > ----
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