Authors: Augustine Omodieke & Olasunmbo Makinde

Over the past year, leadership from the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre (JFKMC), Liberia, and the Accelerator have worked together to strengthen the hospital’s systems and management processes across the fiscal, supply chain, and service delivery to improve the quality of care. These interventions are designed to ensure that high-quality data is available and reported promptly through Liberia’s District Health Information System (DHIS) and Stock Status Requisition and Reporting (SSRR). More so, the availability of high-quality data will improve evidence-based decision-making in the medical center.

To strengthen JFKMC’s data systems and improve the availability of service delivery and logistics management data at the national level via the DHIS and SSRR, the Accelerator facilitated engagement between JFKMC’s Medical Records team and the Health Management and Information System (HMIS), M&E and Research (HMER) unit of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to identify bottlenecks and corresponding interventions. Some of the challenges included poor skills and knowledge on the proper use of data collection and reporting tools (ledgers and forms), and unavailability of requisite tools including ledgers and computers to facilitate onsite and prompt reporting.

In September 2021, the HMER conducted a three-day training session on the proficient use of fifteen (15) HMIS ledgers to collect patient/client information across the various delivery points of the Maternity and Memorial units. At the end of the training, the MOH made adequate HMIS ledgers available at the facility to ensure that the newly acquired knowledge was adopted for data management and reporting. The Medical Records team commenced using the HMIS tools in October 2021, across different service points.

The Accelerator also collaborated with Jhpiego’s Strategic Technical Assistance for Improved Health System Performance and Health Outcomes (STAIP) team to identify areas of synergy to further strengthen JFKMC’s data systems. The Accelerator then facilitated an engagement between the three parties for alignment on the scope of additional interventions and areas for support.

Accelerator facilitating an engagement meeting between the Acclerator, Jhpiego STAIP team and JFKMC to strengthen data systems. Photo credit: HSDF
The Accelerator facilitating a meeting between the Accelerator, Jhpiego STAIP, and JFKMC to strengthen data systems. Photo credit: HSDF/the Accelerator

The Accelerator and STAIP identified opportunities to work in a concerted effort towards strengthening data systems at JFKMC, specifically by capacitating (through technical support, onsite training, and provision of tools – including computers and data ledgers) the JFKMC team on the proficient use of HMIS data tools and quality data reporting (including direct data reporting from JFKMC), conduct of data quality assessment (DQA) and conduct of Quarterly Performance Review Meetings (QPRMs).

JFKMC and the Accelerator also highlighted the immediate need for additional training on onsite data reporting and data visualization. After several iterations, the three parties agreed that  JFKMC will need five (5) computers to carry out these activities across its three (3) facilities (Maternity Hospital, Memorial Hospital, and ES Grant Mental Health Hospital) and the Pharmacy (to report SSRR data for vertical programs and internal stock data using CRRIRF).

Jhpiego Country Director (Dr Birhanu) handing over laptop to the JFKMC Medical Records Director (Mrs Attoh). Photo credit: JFKMC
Jhpiego Country Director (Dr. Birhanu) handing over laptop to the JFKMC Medical Records Director (Mrs. Attoh). Photo credit: JFKMC
Cross section of the Jhpiego and JFKMC teams during the delivery of four desktop and one laptop computers to the facility for data systems improvement. Photo credit: JFKMC
Cross section of the Jhpiego and JFKMC teams during the delivery of four desktop and one laptop computers to the facility for data systems improvement. Photo credit: JFKMC

In February 2022, The Jhpiego STAIP team presented JFKMC, represented by the Director for Planning and Development, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Head of Medical Records, with five (5) computers – four (4) units of desktop computers and a laptop. Three (3) of the desktops will be used to support HMIS at the JFK Memorial Hospital, Liberian- Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital, and E.S. Grant Mental Health Hospital. The fourth desktop will be used to support LMIS in the Pharmacy while the laptop will be used by the office of the Head of Medical Records to support data aggregation, validation, and oversight functions.