Original Research

Disaggregated data to improve child health outcomes

Ann M.E.T. Tshabalala, Myra Taylor
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a1221 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v8i1.1221 | © 2016 Ann M.E.T. Tshabalala, Myra Taylor | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2016 | Published: 02 December 2016

About the author(s)

Ann M.E.T. Tshabalala, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Amajuba Health District, South Africa
Myra Taylor, School of Nursing and Public Health, Discipline of Public Medicine, University of KwaZulu–Natal, South Africa


Background: The District Health Information System was developed in South Africa to collect aggregated routine data from public health facilities. In Amajuba District, KwaZulu-Natal, ward-based data collection has been initiated to facilitate improved responsiveness to community health needs and improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Aim: To assess the application of the municipal ward-based health data in the decision-making process to improve child health outcomes.
Setting: The study was conducted in 25 primary health care service sites in Amajuba.
Methods: A cross-sectional mixed methods’ approach was used. The study population comprised operational managers, professional nurses, ward-based outreach team leaders and supervisors. Quantitative data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were collected using focus group discussions and analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: Of the 131 respondents, 83 (67.5%) provided targeted child interventions to a certain or a large extent to improve child health outcomes, but only 74 (57.4%) respondents reported using municipal ward-based health data to a certain or large extent in order to inform their decisions. This discrepancy indicates poor utilisation of local health information for decision making.
Conclusion: The study showed that municipal ward-based health data are not fully utilised for making informed decisions to improve child health outcomes. It is imperative to inculcate a culture of evidence-informed decisions that leads to provision of targeted interventions in order to mitigate the challenge of scarcity of resources and to improve child health outcomes.


Health information system; disaggregated data; decision making and National Health Insurance


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Crossref Citations

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