Designing Integrated Information Systems for Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Programs in Bangladesh: A Model Plan


  • Md. Saiful Alam


integrated information systems


A workable information system is one of the essential programmatic needs for the Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) sector programs in Bangladesh. At present, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is maintaining hierarchical reporting system called Management Information System (MIS) for assessing, evaluating and monitoring its health, nutrition and population sector programs. It has undergone several changes and modifications over the last three decades since its inception in 1975. In response to the needs for evidence-based decision making and enabling the system to deliver timely reliable information to the planners, managers and professionals, government has taken significant initiatives for improvement of information systems at all levels of the sector. However, due to the bifurcated structure in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), adequate and timely monitoring of sector performance is not yet a reality and the culture of using information for decision-making has not yet taken roots. Duplication of services, delay in placing manpower, equipment etc. still reduce the possibility to make facilities fully functional. Insufficient coordination between various sub-sectors in health, population and nutrition resulted in duplication, wastage and missed opportunities both at the top as well as at the operational level. Though MOHFW has been in the process of developing a routine data system, the MIS has been severely criticized for its narrow coverage, faulty output, under utilization of data, etc. Similarly, no initiative has been taken to develop proper library and information systems let alone the integration of library system and MIS. Considering the socio-economic, technical, infrastructural, policy and administrative issues of the country, the design of an integrated information system is the main focus of the study.