HFG India was invited to present at the ninth annual Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) Conference on its innovative geographic information system (GIS) for improving the use of health data for decision-making. The annual conference brings together thought leaders from across the world to discuss and deliberate on technological innovations for the development sector. The 2017 conference was held mid-May in Hyderabad, India on the theme: From Innovation to Impact – Harnessing the Power of Data for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Alia Kauser (Senior Advisor– HFG India) presented on the Haryana Health GIS (HHGIS), a collaborative solution developed by the HFG project and the National Health Mission in Haryana, India. The HHGIS software application pulls together data from different standalone health information systems into one interactive, visual interface. This feature allows the application’s users to access large volumes of data in real-time. These data would otherwise remain mostly unused in individual health information system silos. Other features—like the creation of customized indicators and drill-down of visual maps to the lowest facility level—enable deep-dive analysis and make the HHGIS a powerful analytical and monitoring tool. The HHGIS has been praised by government stakeholders and others for facilitating easy access to and analysis of a large amount of data.
The presentation, “Leveraging GIS to Draw Health Data Out of Silos, Transform Decision Making,” focused on interoperability—the defining feature of HHGIS. Dr. Kauser explained the potential for the HHGIS to strengthen public health decision-making to improve health service delivery in Haryana state. The presentation drew much interest from participants, many of whom wanted to know more about the application’s different functionalities and its use by the Haryana government.
Participants included others working on similar GIS applications for the social sector. Trovehey Kazunguza (ICT4D Assistant, Project UBALE, Malawi) is part of a team developing a GIS-based platform. Kazunguza was keen to know more about HHGIS and saw it as “an important tool that can help go down the hierarchy of health care service delivery, right to the ground level, to identify with the help of data what areas need most assistance. This can bring a significant and positive shift in efforts to improve service delivery.”