Problems and Prospects of the Routine Health Information System in Ethiopia: the case of government health institutions in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Back ground: - The ultimate objective of a routine health information system (RHIS) is to produce information for taking action in the health sector. If a routine health information system is to produce all the value it should, it must produce high-quality data—actionable insights framed on accurate facts. This information must be actively used to guide day-to-day operations, track performance, learn from past results and improve accountability. However, this has not been the scenario in most developing countries. Objective: - This study was aimed at assessing the problems and prospects of the routine health information system of Ethiopia taking the case of government health institutions in Addis Ababa. Methodology:-A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted at 19 government health institutions in Addis Ababa between the months of January and June, 2010. The performance of the RHIS was assessed using the performance diagnostic tool of the PRISM package conducting an interview and document review; where as a PRISM selfadministered questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge, skill, and attitudes of the staff working in the facilities. SPSS version 15 was used for analysis. Results: Problems of lack of timeliness, feedback, use of information for decision making were the main problems in the RHIS process. Performance of the RHIS was found to be poor as explained by not adequate use of information and data quality. Moreover, several factors which fall under two main categories, behavioral and organizational factors, were seen to influence the performance of RHIS in Addis Ababa. Conclusions: Performance of the RHIS is generally found to not adequate with several factors indentified to be possibly responsible. Further study to ascertain causal relationships with factors and assess impact on the health status of the community is recommended.



information system (RHIS)