Chapter 3. Data dimensions in DHIS2

Table of Contents

3.1. Data dimensions: Core building blocks in DHIS2
3.2. Data elements: The What dimension
3.2.1. Data element categories
3.2.2. Data element group sets
3.3. The organisation unit dimension
3.3.1. Organisation unit group sets and groups
3.3.2. Best practice on the use of group sets and groups
3.4. The period dimension in DHIS2
3.4.1. Period Types
3.4.2. Relative periods
3.4.3. Aggregation of periods
3.5. Data collection vs. data analysis
3.5.1. Data collection and storage
3.5.2. Input does not equal Output
3.6. Extended examples of data elements and forms
3.7. How this works in pivot tables
3.8. Case study: From paper forms to multidimensional datasets - lessons learned
3.8.1. From tables to category combinations - designing multi-dimensional data sets
3.8.2. Step-by-step approach to designing datasets

3.1. Data dimensions: Core building blocks in DHIS2

A data value in DHIS2 is described by at least three dimensions: 1) data element, 2) organisation unit, and 3) period. These dimensions form the core building blocks of the data model.

As an example, if you want to know how many children that were immunised for measles in Gerehun CHC in December 2014, the three dimensions which describe that value are the Data Element "Measles doses given", the Organisation Unit "Gerehun CHC", and the Period "Dececmber 2014". All data values have at least these three dimensions describing What, Where and When.

In addition to the organisation unit, period and data element dimensions, data values may also be associated with a custom dimension consisting of attributes. A common use of this dimension is to describe data values which are reported by multiple partners in the same location for the same data element and time period. In principle, it can be used as a "free-form" dimension, to describe multiple observations of the same phenomena at the same place and time.

Table 3.1. 

Organisation UnitData ElementPeriodValue
Gerehun CHCMeasles doses givenDec-0922
Tugbebu CHPMeasles doses givenDec-0918