Introduction: High quality, timely and complete immunization data are essential for program planning and decision-making. In Nigeria, the National Health Management Information System (NHMIS) Routine Immunization (RI) module and dashboard (on the District Health Information System version 2 (DHIS2) platform) support the use of real time RI data. We deployed an automated short message service (SMS) notification system that works with the existing RI module to facilitate improvements in RI data in the DHIS2.
Methods: A pilot project was performed using intervention and control local government areas (LGAs). A mixed methods approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods was used to evaluate the system. We assessed changes in reporting rates across different reports. The evaluation also included baseline and post-intervention surveys of health facility (HF) staff.
Results: Reporting timeliness (76% pre and 99% post intervention) and completeness (83% pre and 99% post intervention) were consistently higher during the post-intervention than the pre-intervention period for facilities in the intervention LGA while reporting timeliness (65% pre and 66% post intervention) and completeness (71% and 77% post intervention) for facilities in the control LGA showed no change. Users reported that the SMS system was easy to understand and helped to facilitate improvements in consistency of data and timeliness of reporting. Inability of health care workers to effect changes at the HF level and the lack of immediate feedback were reported as key challenges to timeliness and quality of reports.
Conclusion: An SMS-based intervention improved timeliness and completeness of health data reporting. However, the intervention should be evaluated on a larger scale over a longer time period before considering a national implementation.
Keywords: District health information system (DHIS2); Reporting timeliness; Routine Immunization; Short message service (SMS); completeness.
©Oluwasegun Joel Adegoke et al.