Theo Vos: the problem is that health data are collected by people who don't care about health. — richard horton (@richardhorton1) February 13, 2013
Henk Bekedam: those working in national health information systems have been badly ignored. It's time we paid them more serious attention. — richard horton (@richardhorton1) February 13, 2013
Shams El Arifeen: Multiple estimates are not the problem. It is explaining them for local use that is the problem. — richard horton (@richardhorton1) February 13, 2013
Claudia Stein (WHO EURO): "Estimates are really political...good people in national institutions get fired" if a number gives bad news. — richard horton (@richardhorton1) February 13, 2013
Ken Hill: "country review of estimates is the weakest part of what we do." — richard horton (@richardhorton1) February 13, 2013Horton concluded his stream of tweets with a snap-shot (see below) of the "Recommendations on the way forward" produced from this meeting, with notable emphasis on strengthening country health information systems and country capacity. But at first glance, these recommendations do not learn from the failures of making progress on country statistical capacity over the past two decades. The recommendations need clarification on what exactly “strengthening” of health information systems and country capacity means, or why it hasn’t already happened over the past twenty years. Recommendations made by academics and policymakers without extensive leadership from countries run the risk of being ineffective. Which is why I'm encouraged by the Data for African Development working group convened by Alex Ezeh of the African Population and Health Research Center and Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development. The working group has convened a number of "local", "country" actors particularly connected with the Ministries of Statistics or national statistics offices, along with donors. The group has focused on the poorly aligned incentives to collect this data at all levels in their creation, along with the political economy and institutional arrangements that have helped or hindered better statistical capacity. Their perspectives, I believe, will shed new light and offer new recommendations in addressing these persistent problems.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.