UN agencies roll out plans, rCHITS a valuable contributor
Davao City, Philippines — The Joint Programme on Maternal and Neonatal Health (JPMNH), a triumvirate of UN agencies consisting of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted a joint planning workshop with the Department of Health Regional Office XII and with the seven (7) priority municipalities in the region last February 4, 2015. rCHITS, a suite of electronic health information management system, has a key role in strengthening health systems for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN). Arturo Ongkeko Jr., project manager of rCHITS (Phase 3), attended the workshop and presented the latest updates on the UNICEF-funded project.
JPMNH aims to accelerate the efforts in rapid reduction of maternal and neonatal death (Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5) in the Philippines. This strategy is anchored on the combined technical expertise and resources of WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA in close coordination with the Department of Health.
rCHITS, or the Real Time Monitoring of Key Maternal and Child Health Indicators through the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), plays a vital role in the planning and in monitoring and evaluation, as it addresses the gaps in the quality and timely health information, a critical building block in strengthening health systems. The project is composed of three components: (1) CHITS, an electronic medical record designed for government health centers, (2) mReports or mobile ICT reports which helps in gathering relevant health data in the barangays, and (3) an LGU dashboard that allows Local Chef Executives to see the health status of his/her respective community, which aids in a more evidence-based decision making process.
At present, rCHITS is being implemented in 10 sites all over the country, 7 of which are JPMNH priority sites (4 in North Cotabato, 2 in Sultan Kudarat, 1 in Saranggani, and Quezon City).This year’s JPMNH planning workshop highlighted the “jointness” and collaboration with different partners. For example, in order to institutionalize rCHITS, there should be strong leadership and governance support, which could be strengthened through the Municipal Leadership and Governance Program (MLGP) by the Zuellig Family Foundation.
Mr. Ongkeko also provided us with some sneak peak on what will be the next steps for rCHITS. “In the third phase of rCHITS, through the LGU dashboard, we will be more deliberate in demonstrating the use of data generated by rCHITS for decision-making. Their positive experiences in using data from ICT-enabled systems such as rCHITS will enable them to continue the data demand and use cycle, which will multiply both the impact and sustainability of the project,” Mr. Ongkeko said.