Strengthened Health System

Health information and knowledge management



Health Information component of the WHO programme in Bangladesh has been providing support to the Management Information System (MIS) in the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) for improved management of the health sector through effective measurement of health outcomes and appropriate decision making at all levels.  Specifically the support has been provided for improvement of collection, storage, analysis and dissemination of health information for the purpose of planning, organizing and managing health services.


The knowledge management component has been providing support for generation collection and storage of locally available knowledge assets as well as improving availability of international source of knowledge. Specifically the support has been provided to improvement of the management of health libraries, collection and storage of local knowledge assets and improved access to global knowledge sources like HINARI and HeLLIS.


Country situation

Present government has taken significant initiatives for improvement of the MIS at all levels for enabling the system to deliver timely reliable information to the planners, managers and professionals of the health sector for evidence-based decision making. Regular and timely publications of health bulletins and year books, modernization of the data collection and storage system, publication of the Health Information System (HIS) assessment report using Health Metric Network (HMN) assessment tools are some of the examples of present initiatives for improvement of the system in the country.


Considerable functional improvement has also been made in health libraries with capacity building of health librarians and application of ICT tools for their management. A good number of health professionals have been exposed to international sources of knowledge.


At present three major MIS i.e. health, family planning and nutrition, are functioning under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with little or no effective coordination between them. Amongst them, the nutritional MIS is comparatively new and still in its development stage. In addition, some of the large programmes like malaria and tuberculosis are maintaining their own vertical information system. Moreover, all city corporations and municipalities, being under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, have separate health information management system in their areas, which are quite separate from that of the MOHFW with no linkage between them.  There is also no established communication linkage of information system under the MOHFW with other agencies/departments in other ministries like Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) engaged in collection and dissemination of health information. Recently published HIS assessment report, has clearly pointed out weaknesses, particularly in data management and availability of resources for MIS.


For improvement of information system in the country, adequate attention should be given for improvement of the capacity of the MIS staff working at different levels. Deployment of trained staff at all tiers of the system with capability for effectively managing and analyzing data and their proper dissemination and use of information for decision making is an important challenge for the government.

Challenges are also there to improve the management of health libraries with adequate capacity and required logistic to bring them to standard of neighbouring countries. More and more related personnel are to be trained in management of health libraries with ICT application


WHO contribution

*     WHO support provided to the HMN project under MOHFW for finalization of the assessment of the health information system in the country.

*     Introduction of updated hospital recording and reporting system in all government facilities with its expansion in some private hospitals in Dhaka.

*     Introducing and updating Geographic Information System (GIS) by the MIS, DGHS with re-designing ‘Geographic Reconnaissance (GR)’ and piloting Service Availability Mapping (SAM).

*     Yearly publication of Health Bulletins by Director, MIS, DGHS and publication and dissemination of annual MCH and FP reports by the MIS, DGFP.

*     Development of training manual for health librarians and training of health librarians on management of health libraries with application of ICT.

*     Collection and storage of theses and dissertations of students of postgraduate medical institutions. 


WHO Current Collaboration

*     Capacity improvement of the staff of the MIS units at national and sub-national level for management of quality data and dissemination and use of information. 

*     Development of the strategic ‘Health Information Improvement Plan’ through HMN support and implementation of priority activities of the plan will also be supported by WHO.

*     Application of ‘Service Availability Mapping’ for improvement of information collection in Joint UN Maternal and Neonatal Health project.

*     Training of health professionals on access to regional and global sources of knowledge.

*     Networking of health libraries with National Health Library and Documentation Centre