To promote best practices in healthcare management in Bangladesh, ‘Health Minister’s National Award 2017’ was handed out to winners on 15 February 2018 in Dhaka. The award ceremony was a part of the ‘Health Systems Strengthening’ initiative of the Government of Bangladesh. Launched in 2014, this initiative was chalked out to improve health services in the public health sector in this country. It is also supported by World Health Organization (WHO), along with Health Information System (HiSP) Bangladesh, UNICEF and icddr,b.

The SHARE project of icddr,b assisted the Management Information System (MIS) of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), to establish a web-based data collection system called District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2). This is a software to collect routine health data from the government health facilities of Bangladesh and is used as a tool for collection, validation, analysis and presentation of statistical health-based data.

Among the winners of Upazilla-level healthcare institutions, Chowgacha Health Complex, Jessore, scored a total of 240.51 points out of 300, which is also the highest in the country. The institution is the only one of its kind to fetch more than ten national health awards in a row.

The SHARE project has been showcasing Jessore district as a model for using DHIS2 resulting in the improvement of timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of routine health data, increase the use of routing information for local level decision making.

The project took several interventions towards this improvement. At the beginning of the initiative, a qualitative baseline study was conducted in Jessore to identify the challenges of DHIS2 implementation such as providers’ capacity to use Information Technology, quality of data, the status of logistics such as laptop, modem, and, level of use of pieces of evidence in decision making.

A total of 14 key informant interviews, assessment of logistics, internets were conducted during the initial interventions. After baseline assessment, three-day training was conducted on the use of DHS2 for data entry, analysis, creating dashboards with charts, maps and way to transform information into evidence for 41 sub-district level health managers, statisticians and service providers directly involved in data management.

The SHARE project also supported three monthly coordination meetings at Jessore Civil Surgeon office where program progress was presented using dashboards created with data analysis in DHIS2. The project will continue support for on-job coaching, supportive supervision, and monitoring in this district.