Have you ever wondered about how government agencies acquire the information they have on the prevalence of various diseases in the country? I know I have.
Thanks to advancements made in technology, there are data analytic tools such as the District Health Information System (DHIS2) that are used for such purposes. However, things haven’t always been seamless with the use of data analytic tools.
Before the advent of modern data analysis tools such as DHIS2, data collection and analysis was done manually. Imagine manually recording the information of thousands of people on a paper ledger and then going through the strenuous process of extracting the data to spreadsheets one after the other. Not only is this process cumbersome, time-consuming and unnecessarily repetitive, it is near impossible to transfer such data without significant errors along the way – errors that could lead to lethal consequences in the long run.
Manual data collection and analysis is a very slow process and sorting the data after its collection is difficult. Also, the inaccuracies due to unavoidable human errors threatens the integrity of such data and ultimately affects the overall conclusion(s) that could be reached from studying the data. With the introduction of DHIS2 and other data collection tools and software, these problems have now become a thing of the past.
DHIS2 is a free, open-source software platform for collecting, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data. DHIS2 lets you manage and analyze aggregate and individual-level data with a flexible data model. It includes advanced features for dynamic data visualization, like maps, charts, pivot tables and dashboards, as well as social analytics features to help you bring meaning to your data. Today, DHIS2 is the world’s largest Health Management Information System (HMIS) in use by ministries of health in over 73 low and middle-income countries. 2.4 billion people (30% of the world’s population) live in countries where DHIS2 is used. With the inclusion of NGO-based programs, DHIS2 is in use in more than 100 countries.
Zambia’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS Using DHIS2
The National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council, Zambia is a parastatal under the Zambia Ministry of Health, involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in the country. It uses DHIS2 to capture health data from various parts of the country. The types of health data that are being captured include (but not limited to) the following:
- The amount of HIV tests being carried out across the country.
- The number of infected people in the country (test positives).
- The number of uninfected people in the country (test negatives).
With this information, they can figure out if:
- More people are getting infected
- The prevalence of the disease in the country is reducing, and
- The policies set in place to combat the disease are effective.
Also, they use the information from the DHIS2 to know the amount of money that is being spent on each initiative and to assess if their targets are being met.
Deploying a DHIS2 instance requires a server to host the software. To host a DHIS2 instance, there are certain requirements that must be met. These include:
- Human resources with skills in relevant technologies such as web servers and database systems
- Reliable backup of your system including safe storage at a remote server
- Use of SSL (HTTPS / encryption) to keep private information like passwords secure
- Monitoring of server resources and application performance
- Stable and high-speed Internet connectivity
- Stable power supply including a backup power solution
- Secure server environment to avoid unauthorized access, theft and fire
- Powerful hardware with potential for scaling together with increased system usage
To simplify this process, the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council, Zambia uses Dhistance to host its DHIS2 instance.
Dhistance is the world’s first fully automated DHIS2 hosting and server management system. Its fully automated functionality implies that; without the technical know-how, you can easily set up your data management server in 5 minutes. This feature and many others are what make Dhistance the perfect DHIS2 hosting platform for agencies that deal with a large number of users such as the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council, Zambia. The council had to move its DHIS2 instance from other platforms to Dhistance last year because of its affordability compared to other hosting platforms, coupled with the need to accommodate a substantial number of stakeholders that would be using the platform for data entry across the country. Ever since then, Dhistance has continued to provide many benefits, some of which include:
- Affordable pricing plans
- Excellent system backend management
- Automated database and application backup
- 24/7 Friendly-customer support and technical assistance
- Fast and efficient dashboards
- Customized domain names
Due to its reliability and scalability, several private and public organizations are now hosting their DHIS2 instance on Dhistance. You should as well.
To get started, sign up on www.dhistance.com and get a 7-day free trial. Also enjoy half the price on your first subscription.