1.4. Integration of parallel systems

The typical government health domain has a lot of existing players and systems. First it is apparent that an integrated database containing data from various sources becomes a lot more valuable and useful than fragmented and isolated ones. For instance it improves usefulness when analysis of epidemiological data is combined with specialized HIV/AIDS, TB, financial and human resource data, or when immunization is combined with logistics/stock data as it will give a more complete picture of the situation. Second there is typically a lot of overlapping data elements being captured by the various parallel systems. For instance will HIV/AIDS related data elements be captured both by both multiple general counselling and testing programs and the specialized HIV/AIDS program, or data elements related to malaria in pregnancy will be captured by both the reproductive health program and the malaria program. Harmonization the data collection tools of such programs will reduce the total workload of the end users. This implies that such data sources should be integrated into the national information system and harmonized with the existing data elements, which involves both data entry and data analysis requirements and requires a flexible and extensible information system software. It is thus important that individual discussions and work are done with all relevant stakeholders including all health programs.