The Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh have gone ahead in scaling up eMIS (electronic Management Information System) all over the country. The DGFP runs 3,260 first-line facilities called Union Health and Family Welfare Centers (UHFWC) in rural areas of Bangladesh. These are situated in local government units called unions. There is a position each of Sub-Assistant Community Medical officer (SACMO) and Family Welfare Visitor (FWV) in the UHFWC. These providers in more than half of the UHFWCs are now using eMIS facility eRegister. Facility eRegister allow them both to service their clients using the app interface. These apps are parts of eMIS ecosystem of apps and applications. The eMIS apps in the facility setting have contributed to the satisfaction of users as they find that they could discharge their responsibilities with ease and effectiveness. The eMIS also has apps for the DGFP community level workers called family planning assistants (FWA) and their supervisors called Family Planning Inspectors (FPI). All the apps are integrated meaning facility data are shared with community data though each category of workers. Those are also vertically integrated with their supervisors and managers.
We interviewed two FWVs on their impression of the apps compared to previous paper-based systems. Their responses are reproduced below:
I started using the facility systems from 2017 or I am using the app for more than 4 years now. I am able to record all my activities in the app and need not rely on any paper register. All paper registers are available in the tablet. When a client visits the facility, I search the app for their records. If the client is from our union, her records would be shown in the system. However, when someone from other areas visit, we may not be able to find their records. In that case I register them before providing services.
I cannot express in words the benefits accorded by the digital systems. We can find previous records easily. We can work smartly. We can provide better services to our clients. A lot of time is saved as we do not have to flip through registers any more. Eventually, we are able to give more time to the clients.
The app also provides pragmatic guidance or recommendations. We are able to share our data with the FPI or SACMO easily. We sometimes meet and consult about the clients. When the ANC is provided by the SACMO, my app gets updated. My ANC also gets updated automatically in SACMOs tablet. There has been lot of new things and those have made tremendous improvements in the way we work.
Seuli Begum, Family Welfare Visitor, Union Health and Family Welfare Centre, Tangail Sadar, Tangail
I am using FWV app for about 10 months now. I attend a lot of clients and when there is rush, it is not possible to record all their data into the system immediately, I record about 50% immediately and the rest later. But the process is simple. I am able to find all my clients most of the time, when I do not find records in the systems, I record them as non-registered clients.
We require 18 registers to record different services or other matters. All of them are available in the app. Finding the right record or entry in the paper register was time-consuming. Now we get everything in one place. The history of patient is just one click away in the tablet. We can view data whenever is required. The handling of Tablet looks smarter. Preparing reports are so easy, which directly submitted in the higher offices.
I also fell the guidance provided in the tablet very helpful. However, in reality, the client may not agree to a method suggested in the tablet, we do further counselling but if they disagree, we cannot force them. I would like to suggest some improvements by way of adding daily summary in dashboard, improving data sync and simplifying some technicalities like that is difficult for us to understand.
Mst. Mahbuba Maleque Papri, (Family welfare visitor, Upazila health complex, Cumilla Sadar South upazila, Cumilla
Interviews were conducted by Kazi Md. Obaydul Hoq, Manager, Health System Strengthening project, Maternal and Child Health, Division, icddrb in August 2021.
Leave A Comment