Transforming the nutrition information system

Main achievements of the Nutrition Information System

Nutrition Module: 13. Nutrition Information System
This means that the capacity of the health system determines the emergency response: In addition to this, the health management information system of national Ministry of Health MoH collects six or seven nutrition indicators, including growth monitoring and promotion data, information on the community management of acute malnutrition CMAM plus its outcomes, micronutrient data on vitamin A, de-worming, iron and folic acid supplements and low birth weight. About this free course 26 hours study 1 Level 1: Common Nutritional Problems in Ethiopia Nutrition: For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

About this free course

In the previous study sessions you learned about the different methods of assessing nutritional status as well as determining indicators for malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies of public health importance in Ethiopia and food security issues.

In this study session, you will be introduced to the nutrition information system NIS and sources of data that can be used to generate useful nutritional indicators.

You will also learn about the service generated data sources and the key nutritional indicators that can be calculated at local level and at national level. Much of this data will be generated by the routine community-based nutrition interventions that you are participating in as a Health Extension Practitioner. The materials below are provided for offline use for your convenience and are not tracked.

If you wish to save your progress, please go through the online version. For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Skip to main content. Course content Expand Contents Nutrition Module: Nutrients and their Sources Nutrition Module: Nutritional Requirements Throughout the Lifecycle Nutrition: The key question, ultimately, is whether decision-makers from all sectors are willing to exchange and use available routine data to inform their decisions and response.

Initial data collectors are volunteers and frontline health practitioners. Many report that data collection is an additional burden to their already crowded agenda.

After the initial collection, data flows up through various levels via supervisors and health officials. However, little feedback is given through the system so that people directly involved have a limited sense of what is actually done with the information provided.

Currently, asking for nutrition information from a woreda official leads to a paper-chase given the amount of report forms collated. Where officials have been provided with a computer, data appears to have been regularly updated. Given the increased requirements for information management, it seems inevitable that woreda Health Offices will move from a paper-based system to a computerised one, allowing them to perform data quality checks that otherwise are time consuming and prone to mistakes if done manually.

The implication here is that woreda level officials are mostly young, often computer-literate, professionals with degrees. This implies that collected data are not interpreted in isolation but are brought together from different sources. Frontline practitioners in health-posts have access to nutrition and health information through regular contact with patients. An example where this could be used is in chronically food insecure areas supported by the Productive Safety Net Programme PSNP where risk financing mechanisms exist to address new chronic or temporary food insecurity.

By monitoring increases in underweight as an early indicator and OTP admissions as a late indicator , frontline health practitioners, who are members of the Food Security Task Forces FSTF , can play a crucial role in providing information for appeal processes. However, the credibility of their information will depend on their full understanding that risk financing mechanisms are only accessible when malnutrition is linked to food insecurity. Thus, triangulation of data at source is a kind of check by key people before information is fed into the decision-making processes or reported to higher levels.

In Ethiopia, in line with governmental decentralisation, woreda and kebele level administrations have been given increased power to analyse, assess and act on their own changing situation.

They are therefore more responsible and accountable for both development and emergency response. Addressing the challenges of how information can feed into decision-making will ensure the credibility and sustainability of the NIS. At the moment, available data from routine sources are not adequately linked to information use. The main challenge for data utilisation at higher levels is that sources are not fully trusted while at lower levels there are limitations over capacities and mandate.

While data quality assurance can be built into the system, especially by improving lower-level capacity, more emphasis needs to be given to the human aspect. The NIS in Ethiopia can be built upon coupling available data sources with adequate technical support provided throughout the health system.

However, technical inputs are not enough to ensure its sustainability. Frontline practitioners play a crucial role in building the credibility of the NIS but this can only come about with increased recognition of the role they play in informing decision-making. As the process of decentralisation continues within Ethiopia, important decisions to be taken at the lowest levels, risk financing mechanisms being an example, will require bringing together available data from different sources.

This, in turn, will rely increasingly on key people accountable for informing this process at the frontline. Credibility, after all, should always start with the people. Ethiopia has transformed its information system for nutrition.

Inclusion of routine nutrition data in the NIS and the early warning system Due to the consistent reporting and wide coverage of routine data collected through the HEP — therapeutic feeding programme TFP , trends have been established for several years. Better management of data Under the MoA food security Directorate, there is an Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit ENCU , which is responsible for the national multi-agency nutrition task force MANTF coordination meetings, information sharing and discussion of technical issues among nutrition partners working in Ethiopia.

Trust in frontline staff as the main source of information Frontline workers in Ethiopia have been gathering nutrition information particularly data for CMAM since Key Lessons It is necessary to work on developing the health system before embarking on an information system for nutrition which is reliable and able to inform decision making.

Inclusion of routine nutrition data in the NIS and the early warning system