Individual capacities influencing uses of routine health data for decision making among health workersat Muhimbili National Hospital; Dar es Salaam – Tanzania: a quantitative study
Background: The availability of health workers with the capacity to read and understand statistical data and then use them for work-related decision-making, therefore, supporting their institutions or the existing health system at large in developing countries is important. However, in some countries, Tanzania inclusive, this has remained critical. This requires the capacity-building of potential users. The study aimed to assess individual capacities influencing use of routine health data for decision-making among Emergency Medicine health workers at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).
Methods: The study design used was a descriptive cross-sectional using a quantitative approach. Stratified random sampling was used to sample Nurses, Medical officers, Residents, and Emergency medicine specialists. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data. The study involved 76 health workers working in the Emergency Medicine Department (EMD) at MNH.
Results: Results showed 61.6% use of routine health data for decision making. Working experience, job title, and education level had a statistically significant association with information used for decision-making. There was a statistically significant difference in routine data use between those who had poor and good knowledge to collect, analyze, interpret, and use data. Also, results showed that there was a statistically significant difference in routine data use between those who had poor and good skills to collect, analyze, interpret, and use data. Specialists had a good level of knowledge and skills on data use compared to other health workers.
Conclusion: The study demonstrates partial use of routine health data for decision-making with an interplay of individual capacities. A framework for statistical capacity building in Tanzania needs to be built, by training a cadre of health workers with core competencies and skills in measuring progress in the health system that could generate sustainable demand for data use within the health systems of the country.