IWG 6: Efficient Data Reporting for Capacity Building

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Hum bolte hai Copper T lagwa lo par ye muslim log maante kha hai” read one of the banners of Bihar Innovation Lab. Recognised as one of the six major challenges for achieving better maternal and child health, Data Reporting is more or less a misplaced priority.

The Frontline Health Workers are largely the only connection between the government and the beneficiaries of health. The question that lies in front of us is whether this link is strong enough  to carry the burden of this humongous task.

Despite all the efforts, health data suffers from a lot of ground level fudging and undesirable behaviour. The cultural gaps and capacity inabilities have made data reporting more or less a unidirectional approach where there is technically no space for analysing the data and using it for policy formulations.

Most of the ASHA workers have been questioned on their abilities to deliver service. The qualitative parameters are completely ignored while performance evaluation. While not many ASHA workers are actually proud of the work they are doing one of the most important things to do is to motivate them and make them feel an important part of the system.

Cultural and linguistic barriers also pose a major challenge. It is surprising to see that even the mobile phones and tablets manufactured in India don’t support the vernacular languages and thus integrating technology in solution finding becomes a major problem.

Most FHWs are incentivised only on quantitative parameters while the greatest parameter should be a healthy outcome that is a healthy baby with a healthy mother. Moreover, since ASHAs are paid only after delivery it curbs them from actually taking care of pregnant women since they, in most cases, conceive the child at their in-laws’ house but deliver at their maternal houses.

The need of the hour is to integrate the stakeholders of various pieces of information in data reporting. Digitisation of data will also make things easier for an over-burdened ASHAs. And as Dr (Col) Harinder Singh Ratti, a participant in the breakout session, put it, “While devising the policies, you have to think globally and act locally.” Whatever model is going to be decided should be anchored in the market and customised according to the needs.

 

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