Reducing child mortality: The role of mobile electronic health information system

In Ghana, as in many low and middle-income countries, the majority of under-five deaths are caused by preventable infectious diseases. A well-functioning health system with robust health information could deliver real-time data to assist in managing these illnesses. Accordingly, in 2012, the Ghana Health Service introduced the District Health Information and Management System software. However, this system is not operational in rural parts of Ghana. Health facilities in these hard-to-reach communities still rely on a paper-based reporting system that is often inaccurate, incomplete, and not readily available for prompt decision-making.

This project seeks to improve the quality and timeliness of evidence-based decision-making to improve child health outcomes in rural Ghana. This will be achieved by establishing a sustainable health information system that collects data on under-five children from their caregivers and health facilities and by strengthening the capacity of various stakeholders to adequately use that data. It will be implemented in collaboration with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

The project will use the multi-purpose function of a mobile phone-based health information system to empower caregivers to identify health problems of their under-five children. The system will link them to a centralized system with a built-in algorithm to collect data on children’s symptoms and allow the caregivers to interact with health workers for further advice and follow-up. At the same time, this system will link to the Ghana Health service system to provide real-time data for decision-making at both central and local levels.

In addition to publications, this project will result in improved quality of data and better access to and use of reliable health information from local to central levels. It will also result in enhanced caregiver capacity to identify childhood infectious diseases.

This project represents one of nine projects spanning two regions (West Africa and the Middle East) and two thematic topics (adolescent sexual and reproductive health and health information systems).

The project is closely aligned with the Government of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, the strategic priorities detailed in the 2016-2030 World Health Organization (WHO) led Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescents, and the overarching 2030 global agenda for sustainable development.

Project ID

108678

Project status

Active

Duration

48 months

IDRC Officer

Marie-Gloriose Ingabire

Total funding

CA$ 743,500

Countries

Ghana

Program

Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Ellis Owusu-Dabo

Institution

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi

Institution Country

Ghana