34.3 Organisation units: the where dimension

Organisation units in DHIS2 should typically represent a location, such as a Community Health Centre or referral hospitals, or an administrative unit like “MoHS Sierra Leone”, “Bo District” or “Baoma Chiefdom”. In non-health sector applications, they could be “schools” or “water points”. Orgunits are represented in a default hierarchy, usually the default administrative hierarchy of a country or region, and are therefore assigned an organisational level. As an example, Sierra Leone has four organisation unit levels; National, District, Chiefdom, and PHU, and all orgunits are linked to one of these levels. An orgunit hierarchy in DHIS2 can have any number of levels. Normally data is collected at the lowest level, at the health facility, but can be collected at any level within the hierarchy, such as both the districts as well as the facility level.

When designing reports at higher levels with data aggregated at the district or province level, DHIS2 will use the hierarchy structure to aggregate all the health facilities’ data for any given unit at any level. The organisation unit level capturing the data always represents the lowest level of detail that is possible to use in data analysis, and the organisational levels define the available levels of aggregation along a geographical dimension.

34.3.1 Organisation unit group sets and groups

While facility level is typically the lowest geographical level for disaggregation in DHIS2, there are ways to flexibly group organisation units into any number of dimensions by using the organisation unit groups and group set functionality. As an example, if all facilities are given an official type like “Community health center” or “District Hospital, it is possible to create an organisation unit group set called”Type" and add groups with the names of the types mentioned above. In order for the group sets to function properly in analysis, each organisation unit should be a member of a single group (compulsory and exclusive) within a group set. Stated somewhat differently, a facility should not be both a “Community health center” as well as a “District hospital”.

34.3.1.1 Inherit the values of an organisation unit group set

You can improve the completeness of your aggregated data by inheriting the settings of a “parent” organisation unit in your organisation unit hierarchy. This is particularly helpful if you are aggregating the data of more than 100 organisation units. See the Maintenance app documentation for more details.

34.3.1.2 Alternative organisation unit hierarchies - advanced use of group sets and groups

A more advanced use of organisation unit group sets is to create alternative hierarchies e.g. use administrative borders from other ministries. In Sierra Leone that could mean an alternative hierarchy of 1:MoHS, 2:Districts, and 3: Local councils, instead of the four-level hierarchy with chiefdoms and PHUs. For instance, if all PHUs are linked to a specific local council, it would be possible to look at data aggregated by local council instead of chiefdom. Then you would first need to create a group set called “Local council” and then create one organisation unit group for every local council, and finally link all PHUs to their corresponding local council group.

District OrgUnit Type Data Element Period Value
Bo CHC Measles doses given Dec-09 121
Bo CHP Measles doses given Dec-09 98
Bo MCHP Measles doses given Dec-09 87
Bombali CHC Measles doses given Dec-09 110
Bombali CHP Measles doses given Dec-09 67
Bombali MCHP Measles doses given Dec-09 59

34.3.2 Best practice on the use of group sets and groups

As mentioned above, all organisation units should be a member of a single group within a group set. If an organisation unit is not present in any group or is present in multiple group members in a group set, this can lead to unexpected results in the analysis modules. DHIS2 has integrity checks to identify organisation units which are not present in any organisation unit group set member, or which is present in multiple groups.