Health information systems challenges with health in the post-2015 development agenda

Many new health priorities are being included in the post-2015 (postMillennium Development Goals) development agenda. These include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Rio + 20 Open Working Group, and other UN Resolutions.

The Sustainable Development Goals has 17 goals and 169 targets. Though only the third SDG exclusively addresses public health, almost all the other goals directly or indirectly contribute to better health outcomes. A central narrative built into SDG-3, the health goal, is to maximize health for all ages with UHC as a means and an end in itself. These new priorities will require a reorientation of the HIS needed to support this post-2015 development agenda for health (United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015).

UN political declaration on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

Adopted in 2011, this declaration requires setting up national targets and indicators measuring progress towards prevention and control of risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Data on NCDs is often not integrated into the national HIS, making it difficult to use for advocacy, policy, and assessment of impact of interventions. A significant implication on HIS is to develop suitable indicators to monitor NCD programmes, and integrate with national HIS. Furthermore, there are various global surveys being done such as GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) and GYTS (Global Youth Tobacco Survey) to monitor tobacco prevalence. These surveys (such as age categorizations) need to be harmonized with the data needed to generate the required indicators, and to be able to speak to the national HIS. Monitoring hypertension and blood sugar in individuals may require the need for biomarkers to also be incorporated into national HIS, representing novel challenges.

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