Chapter 1. A quick guide to DHIS2 implementation

Table of Contents

1.1. Planning and organizing
1.1.1. Structures needed
1.1.2. Integration efforts
1.1.3. Equipment and internet
1.1.4. Roll-out strategy
1.2. Adapting DHIS2
1.2.1. Scope of system
1.2.2. Setting up DHIS2
1.2.3. Hosting
1.3. Capacity building
1.3.1. DHIS core team (DCT)
1.3.2. Country training strategies
1.3.3. Continuous training opportunities

Any implementation of District Health Information Software (DHIS2) should aim at establishing sustainable systems that are flexible to changing needs in the health sector. It is important to acknowledge that this will take many years, with continuous structures for capacity building, best practise sharing, and innovation. This quick guide will provide a very crude overview of the different facets of DHIS2 implementation.

1.1. Planning and organizing

1.1.1. Structures needed

  • A DHIS core team (DCT) of 4-5 people will be needed to administer a national HMIS. Their responsibilities and required skills should be clearly defined. The DCT will participate in DHIS2 Academies, organize training and enduser support for various user groups in the country.

  • A Technical Steering Committee, or equivalent, will be needed to steer the coordination between health programs, other information systems and development partners and Universities. They will lead integration efforts and make decisions regarding the overall architecture of information systems.

1.1.2. Integration efforts

  • Throughout the implementation, simultaneous efforts of information system integration and data exchange need to be conducted. The leading principle for this work should be to create a decision-driven and indicator-focused system.

1.1.3. Equipment and internet

  • An assessment needs to establish the needs for hardware. Desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones all have different qualities, and typically a mix of these different technologies will need to be supported.

  • Server and hosting alternatives needs to be critically examined with regards to capacity, infrastructural constraints, legal framework, security and confidentiality issues.

  • Internet connection for all users will be needed. Mobile internet will be adequate for majority of users doing data collection and regular analysis.

  • Options for mobile phone users, bulk sms deals etc, should be examined if appropriate.

1.1.4. Roll-out strategy

  • The DCT will play a key role here and each member should have clear responsibilities for the roll-out covering: user support, user training, liaison with health programs, etc.

  • Borader support structures need to be established to provide support, supervision, and communication with global/regional network of expert users and developers.

  • Information use must be a focus area from the start and be a component both in the initial system design and the first round of user training. Data collection and data quality will only increase with real value of the information. District review meetings and equivalent should be supported with appropriate information products and training.

  • Training will typically be the largest investment over time, and necessitates structures for continuous opportunities. Plan for a long term training approach catering for a continuous process of enabling new users and new system functionalities.

  • Supervision and data quality assessment should be held frequently.