Jigmi Wangdi

WHO’s regional workshop in Paro will focus on enhancing the capacities of countries to standardise, harmonise, analyse, and utilise Routine Health Information System (RHIS) data at various levels of healthcare governance.

The workshop from April 23 to 26 in Paro is being conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The RHIS is crucial for effective health management, providing continuous data on health service delivery and outcomes. These systems collect, manage, and analyse data from healthcare facilities to inform policy-making, improve service delivery, and monitor disease trends and health service performance.

The workshop has more than 100 participants, including 70 international delegates from the Southeast Asia Region participating in this workshop to reinforce health systems that prioritise evidence-based practices and ensure equity in healthcare delivery.

Discussions will cover the pivotal role of RHIS data in improving health outcomes and achieving universal health coverage.

Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said that the workshop is a testament to the collective commitment towards building robust and resilient health systems that prioritise evidence-based practices, ensuring equity in healthcare delivery, striving for excellence in service provision, and embodying the spirit of resilience in the face of challenges.

“First and foremost, routine health information serves as a powerful tool for disease surveillance and early detection. Bhutan has achieved another milestone in strengthening its routine health information system with the launch of the electronic Patient Information System (ePIS) in 2023,” Lyonpo said.

WHO Representative to Bhutan, Dr Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh, urged member states to invest in strengthening RHIS data systems, collaborate with other sectors, and apply innovative technologies to use data to make informed decisions and deliver impact.

“A country’s health information system is one of the six critical building blocks of its health system. It generates crucial data and evidence for decision-making processes that directly influence population health outcomes and wellbeing,” Dr Bhupinder Kaur said.

She added that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of a strong RHIS was further highlighted. “Countries relied on this to rapidly adapt their reporting mechanisms to identify, collect and use accurate and timely data to shape their response strategies.”

An official from the WHO said that this is the first time that Bhutan is hosting a regional meeting for the integrated health information system.

“It is also one of the first initiatives where the WHO Regional Office have brought in experts on areas such as non-communicable diseases (NCD), immunisation, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH), dengue and health management information system,” the official said.

The official shared that this is a unique initiative from the WHO Regional Office to bring in together all three levels of WHO organisation across four programme areas like immunisation, NCDs, MNCAH and dengue surveillance to strengthen the integration and use of routine health facility data.

This year, the workshop has participants from ten Southeast Asian countries out of 11 countries. The participating countries are home to 25 percent of the world’s population.