Dar es Salaam, 7 February 2018:The Government of Tanzania is committed to improving the quality of health data for evidence-based decision making and to strengthen capacity to track progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. While Tanzania has taken major steps and made significant progress towards improving availability, access, analysis and use of health data, it also recognizes the need for more coordinated and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to unleash the full potential of its health information system. This will reduce fragmentation and duplication of efforts, improve the efficiency of investments and build confidence in the national health data system.
To achieve this ambition in Tanzania, the Government with WHO and other partners launched the Tanzania Health Data Collaborative in Dar es Salaam on 11th September 2017. This initiative is led by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, Health Sector Stakeholders, and Global Partners. At the Tanzania Health Data Collaborative launch, six key priority actions were identified:
- Addressing fragmentation of M&E and data systems;
- Alignment of indicators and data collection processes;
- Alignment of health facility assessments and surveys;
- Joint and aligned investment in digital health information systems;
- Strengthening capacity for analysis and use of data;
- Dissemination and access.
To further strengthen the government and partners’ commitment to support the Tanzania Health Data Collaborative priorities, a joint communiqué was signed in Dar es salaam on 7th February 2018 at the Ministry of Health. The signatories were:
- Dr Ulisubisya Mpoki , Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health
- Dr Zainab Chaula, Deputy Permanent Secretary Health, President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government;
- Professor Bakari Kambi, Chief Medical Officer;
- Ms Norzin Grigoleit-Dagyab, Chair, Development Partners Group for Health;
- Dr Matthieu Kamwa, WHO Representative;
- Mr Irenei Kiria, Civil Society representative.
The guest of honour for the signing of the communiqué was Dr Ulisubisya Mpoki. In his opening remarks, he stressed the need for partners to work together with the government in implementing the government-identified priorities in supporting one monitoring and evaluation framework. He further stressed the importance of using data for strategic decision making and tracking progress: “Data represent what we do, and with data we are being held accountable, meaning we have to give weight to the way it is processed and reported.”
The signing of the Tanzania Health Data Collaborative communiqué closed with remarks from Dr Zainab Chaula, who called on all partners and stakeholders to work together to implement the identified priorities. Dr Chaula closed the signing event by reiterating support and commitment from the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG).
WHO country representative, Dr. Matthieu Kamwa commended government’s leadership in improving the quality of health information and remarked the importance of data by saying: “the most Precious commodity is no longer oil, gold, diamond and even our favorite Tanzanite but rather data and information”.