This study focuses on the challenges of building health workers capacity for understanding and using health data through training and support. The study falls under the action research paradigm in which health workers at district and facility levels were trained and supported on data collection, processing, analyzing, reporting and using. These actions aimed at gaining an understanding of organizing training and support to deliver effective training and to strengthen the culture of using information among health workers. This was to help health workers develop a sufficient understanding of using DHIS, data collection tools and collected data.
Findings have indicated that, HMIS in Zanzibar face challenges such insufficient training for health workers, low educational levels of health workers, culture of non-ownership of data collected, the design of data collection tools and poorly motivated health workers. There challenges are in one way or the other leading to collection of incomplete and inaccurate data, untimely reporting of data, poor utilization of the data collected, and underutilization of the DHIS. Facing these challenges, this research has proposed building individual and system wide capacity of the HMIS for collecting, analysing, reporting and using health data through training and support.
The study was informed by qualitative and quantitative methodologies where I employed concurrent triangulation methodology. Using this methodology, data was collected and analysed qualitatively and quantitatively concurrently, giving priority to the qualitative data. The study was conducted in three districts (Chake Chake, West and Urban) and twelve health facilities in Chake Chake and Urban districts. The results of the findings of this research indicate that training can improve skills and performance of health workers qualitatively and quantitatively if it is appropriately organized. Training should not only concentrate on how to make the system work but also why. Health workers can change their perceptions and attitudes towards training if its outcomes are motivating and rewarding to them.