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Two universities aid data collection for health care

Two universities are collaborating on a project to assist the health ministry gather and process data for supporting health care.

Makerere University’s School of Public Health and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) are working together on what is known as a regional Quality Improvement (QI) learning exchange.

The process, started with a meeting at Speke Resort in Munyonyo that attracted participants from five countries (Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda) for a dynamic, participant-driven gathering to explore best practices, shared challenges, and innovative strategies for use of data for quality improvement in national HIV programmes.

The large data sets are being generated from epidemiologic surveys. Experts met to agree on ways in which data is used to identify glaring challenges in the HIV and Aids prevention in the different countries.

Speaking on behalf of Makerere University’s Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS), the programme manager, Evelyn Akello, pledged to ensure a link between data collection and the kind of analysis that leads to quality improvement in public health outcomes.

“The treatment scene has changed … it is not only about giving drugs but also about preventive care and assessment,” she said.

She added that through interactive peer-led sessions, the QI learning exchange would provide participants with a unique opportunity to gain expertise, build networks and share QI successes and implementation barriers, while learning new strategies for advancing data use in national HIV quality programmes.

Speaking for UCSF, Dr Rachel King said they were pleased to be working with Makerere and the health ministry to establish a link between data collection and improved health care provision in the region.

The chief guest, Dr Sarah Byakika, of the health ministry, assessed the progress made by her sector in improving the quality of care provision since 1994. She emphasized the need to look at quality improvement in totality instead of focusing on processes.

“The aim is to be less disease-specific and more broad-based,” she said.

Dr Byakika proposed six ways in which quality improvement would result in the best health outcomes.

These include strengthening leadership, improving compliance to health provision standards, developing patient and client participation in all health facilities, strengthening framework for documentation on quality assurance through digitization of health records, as well as implementing evidence-based models of improved care.

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