A review of health management information system in the Kumasi Metropolis with respect to operations in the Pharmacy Department

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Health information systems are designed to produce information for decision-making and to enable management ascertain the progress made by an organisation towards achieving its objectives. It aids in allowing optimal utilisation of resources, in planning for better intersectoral co-ordination, and in monitoring and evaluation of activities. Information systems are thus a potent tool of management and also essential for initiating programmes in any field. An observation of HMIS in the Kumasi Metro revealed that HMIS was tilted in favour of MCH/FP activities with little attention to HMIS in the pharmacy. The study therefore assessed the HMIS in place within the pharmacy department and made recommendations in order to improve HMIS in the pharmacy department, and to improve health care delivery in Kumasi and Ghana as a whole. A hypothesis was proposed as ‘The HMIS in the pharmacy departments in the Kumasi metropolis is inadequate to make it operational’ Specific areas of interest in the study included assessing, the adequacy of data collected for analysis: - Finding out when data were submitted to the Kumasi Me o Health Directorate and how data were stored: - Finding out what data collected in the pharmacy department were used for at both the sub Metro and Metro levels: - Finding out if there was any feedback process in the system. A qualitative descriptive study design was used. Validity of data collected was checked using the face validation method. The study was conducted in three out of the five MOH hospitals in the Kumasi Metro excluding Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The three study hospitals were chosen by simple random sampling, these are Manhyia Hospital, South Suntreso Hospital and Maternal Child Health Ho ital. The study population consisted of a Medical Superintendent, the Pharmacist and a data collector from each of the three facilities. They were interviewed with the aid of a structured interview guide. The Metro Health Director (MHD) was also interviewed. As part of the study all four returns (Cash and carry, stock level, Anti Snake- bite Serum (ASS) and Anti Rabies Vaccine (ARV) returns) for 1999 prepared in the pharmacy department were collected and analysed. Findings at the facility level showed that adequate data were collected and expected returns were submitted although there was no uniform format for collecting data at the dispensary at the different hospitals. Returns were submitted on monthly basis, submissions were always late, however date of submission could not be obtained. Data was stored manually and computers were under-utilised. Retrieval of information was cumbersome in MCHH and South Suntreso here files containing data were not well labelled. At the facility level data was analysed by way of aggregation of data collected on daily basis. Other indicators on cash and carry forms were however not analysed and the feedback system was inadequate. Cash and carry, ASS and ARV returns were not used in monitoring, evaluation and in decision-making. They were being prepared mainly for submission to the MHD. However stock level returns were utilised in the day to day running of the pharmacy. At the Metro level returns submitted by facilities were not analysed. There was no feedback system in place with respect to returns submitted from the pharmacy department. Returns were just collated for onward transmission to the region. Comparing the study results with the theoretical framework it was observed that raw data is collected and processed into indicators but is not being used for decision-making hence there is a break in the management information stages. The hypothesis, ‘The HMIS in the pharmacy department in the Kumasi metropolis is inadequate to make it operational’ is therefore confirmed. For the system to become operational, an efficient supervision and monitoring system will have to be put in place at both the facility and Metro level. It will also be important to train all health workers on basic concept and relevance of an efficient HMIS.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Health Services Planning and Management, 2001