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Routine health information systems in most third world countries are woefully inadequate to provide the information support necessary for planning and management of the health services. In most countries they are centrally planned and managed. Indicators, data collection instruments, and reporting forms usually have been designed by centrally located epidemiologists, statisticians, and administrators (called data people), with minimal involvement of lower-level line managers and providers of the health services (called action people). Decentralized routine health information systems in developing countries allow health program managers at both peripheral (district and regional) and central (national) levels to better monitor and evaluate the health programs by making available at all levels the data necessary for decision making. Since information technology became increasingly affordable for developing countries, computerization of data processing and analysis has further contributed to the availability of quality and timely data. The decision support system (DSS) is a module added to an existing routine health information system that allows decision-makers to visualize health indicators and data elements collected by the system in graphical and geographical presentations. The user, after accessing the module, chooses a series of options to determine the specific analysis desired.
Date of Conference: 5-8 Jan. 2004