Chapter 14. Indicators

Table of Contents

14.1. What is an indicator?
14.2. Purpose of indicators
14.3. Indicator-driven data collection
14.4. Managing indicators

This chapter covers the following topics:

The following describes these topics in greater detail.

14.1. What is an indicator?

In DHIS2, the indicator is a core element of data analysis. An indicator is a calculated formula based on a combination of data elements, category options, possibly constants and a factor. There are two foms of indicators, those with a denominator and those which do not have a denominator. Calculated totals, which may be composed of multiple data elements do not have denominators. Coverage indicators (ratios, percentages, etc) are composed of two formulas of data elements, one representing the numerator and another representing the denominator.

Indicators are thus made up of formulas of data elements and other components and are always multiplied by a factor (e.g. 1, 100, 100, 100 000). The factor is essentially a number which is multiplied by the result of the numerator divided by denominator. As a concrete example, the indicator "BCG coverage <1 year" is defined by a formula with a factor 100 (in order to obtain a percentage), a numerator ("BCG doses given to children under 1 year") and a denominator ("Target population under 1 year"). The indicator "DPT1 to DPT3 drop out rate" is a formula of 100 % x ("DPT1 doses given"- "DPT3 doses given") / ("DPT1 doses given").

Table 14.1. Indicator examples






Fully immunized <1 year coverage

Fully immunized/Population < 1 year x 100

Fully immunized

Population < 1

100 (Percentage)

Maternal Mortality Rate

Maternal deaths/Live births x 100 000

Maternal deaths

Live births

100 000 (MMR is measured per 100 000)

Cumulative number of people Enrolled in Care

Cumulative number of people Enrolled in Care x 1

Cumulative number Enrolled in Care (Male, Age<18) +Cumulative number Enrolled in Care (Male, Age18+) +Cumulative number Enrolled in Care (Female, Age<18) +Cumulative number Enrolled in Care (Female, Age18+)