Peru: Knowledge for Health Results of a Reproductive Health Information Needs Assessment
Project Duration: October 2010–February 2011
Funding: USAID core funds
Partners: MSH, USAID
In collaboration with Management Sciences for Health (MSH), K4Health conducted a needs assessment in Peru between 2010-2011 to explore how to improve information exchange about family planning and reproductive health among health care professionals, as well as to identify the health information needs of health care providers at different levels of the health system. The research team conducted key-informant interviews and focus groups in the city of Lima and in the regions of Ayacucho, Ica, and Ucayali.
Needs Assessment Findings
In general, information flows slowly through the Peruvian health system, particularly down to the peripheral level. Key findings of the needs assessment include:
- Health information needs differ at each level of the health system, from policy makers and program managers to service providers.
- Access to information technologies decreases from the national health system level to the local level.
- Training and technical assistance are important links that enable health information exchange among the network of 199 health organizations, including government institutions, donors, NGOs, professional networks, academic institutions, and grassroots organizations.
- Important technological gaps exist between urban and rural health care facilities: most service providers outside Lima and in rural areas have limited or no Internet access. In contrast, every health care provider interviewed in both urban and rural areas had a mobile phone.
Recommendations for improving information exchange in the health system include:
- promoting the flow of information to promote access to information at the peripheral levels while reducing overload at the national and regional levels;
- improving training, technical assistance, and supervision processes so that managers and providers who need technical health information receive it;
- adapting information to the needs of managers and providers at different levels and packaging it in appropriate formats; and
- establishing an entity to be responsible for producing synthesized, tailored health information for different levels of providers.
MSH conducted a dissemination meeting to showcase the results and to discuss potential solutions to close the identified gaps.