Sustainability of the Health Management Information System in Kinondoni and Muheza districts, Tanzania
This study examines how Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) can be sustained in the Tanzanian context based on the experiences of Muheza and Kinondoni districts. Data for the study was collected using interviews, questionnares and document reviews. The findings show that the capability of a health facility to sustain the HMIS largely depends on ownership. Whereas respondents from government-owned facilities reported not to have enough resources to sustain the system, their counterparts in the private sector indicated that they could do so if they were asked. At the district level respondents indicated that it was a matter of incorporating all components of the system in their budgets and improving collection of internally generated revenues. The majority of respondents at both district and local levels indicated that they are committed to sustaining the system irrespective of the workload that it puts on them. Results further show that some hospital health facilities take trouble to print registers when there were shortages. At district level it was found that there were no standardized strategies to sustain HMIS. Each district made its own attempts to do so. The major constraints identified revolve around the question of funds, lack of information professionals to market the system to district administrators and limited appreciation of the HMIS as a major tool in the development of the health sector by the politicians. The paper provides recommendations on strategies to sustain the system.