By Jacqueline Deelstra, Senior Communications Associate, Digital Health, PATH, and GOFR-Connect Partners
In many countries, scattered, unintegrated health care data make it challenging for officials to have a full picture of their country’s health system. Data on health service facilities, such as hospitals and clinics, are one foundational dataset that is often found in multiple databases that are not complete and can have conflicting information. This leaves countries without one definitive facilities list to inform improvements in health service delivery.
Through our first round of funding, Notice A, Digital Square invested in Global Open Facility Registry-Core (GOFR-Core). GOFR-Core is a set of tools that can synthesize and identify potential duplicate facilities across multiple sources of facility data. GOFR-Core reduces data redundancy, improves access to information, and gives users the tools needed to manage their health location information on a national and international scale.
Investing in this technology without identified country need, support, and participation would go against the Digital Principles and be a wasted effort; so, along with GOFR-Core, we launched GOFR-Connect to ensure that a specific set of countries would be major players in the design and implementation of this technology.
The GOFR-Connect team for Guinea—comprised of RTI International and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI)—is supporting the Guinean Ministry of Health to set up, pilot, and eventually adopt the GOFR-Core set of tools. These efforts coincide with the Ministry and USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project’s ongoing efforts to produce a Master Facility List by combining disparate datasets from various partners and information systems, a task that requires de-duplication and other data cleaning activities for which the GOFR-Core tools are designed.
An exciting milestone in this work took place from July 2 to 6, 2018, in Kindia, Guinea, when representatives of RTI and JSI met with representatives from the Guinean Ministry of Health for an interactive workshop focused on drafting core documents related to data governance and data sharing. The representatives also discussed the specifications for GOFR-Core, which will be shared with the developers of the tools, IntraHealth, in order to best design the tool for Guinea’s needs.
With the core data-governance documents now drafted and the Guinea use case of the GOFR-Core tools well-defined, next steps include the Ministry of Health’s organizing regional workshops to distribute the manual on management of health facility registers. The GOFR-Connect team will continue to support the Ministry to ensure the sustainability of the GOFR-Core tools, improve the Guinean Master Facility Registry, and collect the needed geographic coordinates of health structures.
The GOFR-Connect project in Guinea promises to boost the reach and effectiveness of public health programs by increasing the amount, accessibility, and quality of health facility data. Digital Square will continue to share the work of this exciting project and how it is adapted to support efforts to integrate and better use health facility data in other countries.
Photo credit: Diao Diallo