Measuring Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage and Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals: The Informational Challenges

Introduction: Scope of Contemporary Informational Challenges

Expectations from health information systems (HIS) in low and middle-class countries (LMICs) have risen considerably in recent times, contributed to by the coming centre-stage of the universal health coverage (UHC) discourse and the related push to strengthen the civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. Interlinked to this is the emphasis on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. The requirement of ‘measurement of progress towards the SDGs’ contributes to expanding the scope and quality of public health informatics support required.

This chapter covers three themes. The first theme concerns the key problems of measuring progress towards UHC and the post-2015 SDGs, and their implications on the required supporting information. We also discuss the current initiative on the Health Data Collaborative, which explicitly seeks to strengthen the supporting HIS. The second theme discusses each of the four data sources—population surveys, primary care service data, hospital information, and CRVS—and how they each need to be rethought and restructured in order to meet the emerging needs. The third and final theme emphasizes the need to align these four data sources with one another, guided by the framework architecture of Expanded PHIs. But architecture is itself a problematic— with different ideologies and contexts shaping it in varied, often contradictory ways. It is only an expanded understanding of PHI that could help address these complexities.

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