In Malawi, as in many developing countries, data systems in the health sector are fragmented. The health sector contains vertical programs, leading to isolated decision-making and solutions. Increasingly constrained resources, and lack of investments in data systems, make data collection, consolidation, and dissemination for use in decision making difficult. HIV and AIDS data is no exception, and due to Malawi’s high HIV burden, this lack of data use for decision making is all the more problematic.
Building on discussions with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and other stakeholders, the Government of Malawi (GoM) proposes to strategically and efficiently strengthen the data systems architecture while simultaneously evaluating targeted methods to increase data use for decision making at the district and central levels.The project has selected the 10 districts with the highest number of people living with HIV for this work. In these districts, the project will make targeted improvements to the data systems architecture, including: transition high volume facilities with access to the electricity grid to electronic health records; deploy data collection and access points in smaller facilities with access to electricity; and in small facilities without electricity, revise paper forms for easier data collection and use.
At the central level, the various systems which collect HIV and AIDS data will be interfaced into a comprehensive, easily accessible database. In this way, it is expected that decision-makers will be able to access HIV and AIDS data on for example, linkage, retention, and performance with a click of a button.
Jembi provides technical assistance to Vital Wave Corporation to assess the feasibility of plans being drafted by the Government of Malawi to strengthen data systems for HIV/AIDS, particularly in the areas of interoperability, OpenHIE and scale-up of EMR systems.