Participatory development of a minimum dataset for the Khayelitsha district
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
CITATION: Mash, B., Mahomed, H. 2000. Participatory development of a minimum dataset for the Khayelitsha district. South African Medical Journal, 90(10):1024-1030.
Background. Traditional 'data-led' information systems have created excessive amounts of poor-quality and poorly utilised data. The Health Information Systems Pilot Project (HISPP), a Western Cape project that started in 1996, initiated a process in one of its three pilot sites to model an alternative approach to developing a district health information system. Objective. To develop a minimum dataset for Khayelitsha as part of an action-led district health and management information system in a participatory 'bottom-up' process. Method. The HISPP, in conjunction with health workers in the proposed Khayelitsha district, developed a minimum dataset through a process of defining local goals, targets and indicators. This dataset was integrated with data requirements at regional and provincial levels. Results. A minimum dataset was produced that defined all the data needed according to the frequency of reporting and the level at which it was required. Conclusion. The HISPP has demonstrated an alternative model for defining health information needs at district level. This participatory process has enabled health workers to appraise their own information needs critically and has encouraged local use of information for planning and action.