Designing, developing and evaluating a management information system for vitamin a supplementation programme managers in the Eastern Cape through action research
Wagner-Meyer, Rolene M.
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Periodic high doses of vitamin A supplementation has been demonstrated to have a dramatic impact on vitamin A status and general health of children, significantly improving child survival. The Eastern Cape Department of Health has therefore adopted a provincial policy on vitamin A supplementation to improve the high child mortality and vitamin A deficiency rates experienced in the province. This study outlines a participatory approach to designing, developing and evaluating the implementation of a management information system (MIS) that will support district level Maternal, Women and Child Health programme managers in problem identification, planning and decision-making when implementing the Eastern Cape policy on vitamin A supplementation. It is an iterative process that: • Begins with a situational analysis • Uses this situational analysis for the conceptualisation of the MIS • Develops this MIS as a part of the vitamin A supplementation programme, embedding the MIS in the management structure and operational systems and • Evaluates the implementation of this MIS The study introduces the concept of trace tables, an integral part of the MIS. It is a unique tool that the researcher has developed to assist programme managers to monitor the implementation of the various elements of a primary health care programme like vitamin A supplementation. The researcher discusses the key findings of the study, the participatory nature of this action research, and elements unique to this study in terms of the vitamin A supplementation programme, the development of a MIS, an action research approach and the context within which the development of the MIS occurred. The study is concluded with key lessons to be learnt from this research and the postulation of a model on a participatory approach to the development of a MIS for Primary Health Care programmes.
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