Towards a digitized and integrated health information system in Sudan: assessment of readiness at state level
Background: A strong health information system able to generate timely and accurate information is essential to ensure effective and efficient performance. Sudan’s health information system is still paper-based and characterized by fragmentation and verticality. Efforts to overcome this have led to development of an integrated system to digitize the health information. For this to succeed the 18 states in Sudan need to be evaluated and assessed to identify the gaps in capacity and readiness for such important change. The aim of this paper is to assess the capacity and readiness of the health information system in Sudan at state level for the digitization of the health information system.
Materials and Methods: This is a cross sectional institutional based study conducted in 2014 targeting the health information units in the 18 states ministries of health in Sudan. Quantitative data was collected using a pre-tested checklist and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews with state managers and analyzed using the evaluation matrix.
Results: All states ministries of health had health information units but this was believed inadequate in 27.8% and 72.2% had units at locality level. Data analysis units were not present in one third of the states. Basic statistical training was done in 15 states. Internet services was available in 14 states but was scarce at locality level (16.7%). Annual reports though produced by 17 states, one third admit not reporting to higher levels in a regular manner.
Conclusion: There is a need to strengthen the health information system at state level. Challenges of ICT infrastructure, capacity building and coordination need to be addressed. This needs collaborative work and political commitment.
Keywords: Health Information System, states, digitization