Strengthening Health Data Reporting and Improving Data Quality Use by Integrating National and Project DHIS2 Instances: Experiences from the DRC
The availability of timely, high-quality health data remains a challenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), despite some significant progress. DRC is a vast, landlocked country where the distances between health facilities, especially at different levels of the health system, are often great. Data flow, and consequently data- and information-driven decision making, is therefore challenging. To tackle these challenges, in 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) adopted DHIS 2 as the only software used at the national level for health data management. The National Health Information System (NHIS) was then rolled out in three phases: a pilot and learning phase (March 2014 to June 2015), the scaling-up phase (July 2015 to June 2016), and the finalization phase (July 2016 to December 2016). The complete rollout of the NHIS improved data quality and timeliness, but additional advances were still needed. Further progress was limited, mainly due to poor internet connectivity, a lack of suitable computers to enable use of DHIS 2, and the low skills of data managers and other stakeholders.