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THE health sector will from now on have harmonised data collection tools and sharing, phasing out fragmented data systems which have been hindering easy access to health information in the country.

This is in the wake of yesterday's launching of the Tanzania Health Data Collaborative in Dar es Salaam, that will facilitate availability of harmonised health data on a single online platform. The launch makes Tanzania the second country in the continent to introduce such a programme after Kenya.

Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, said the initiative would further help the country achieve Goal Number Three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's).

"This is a path to achieving Goal Number Three as it would address a gap in health data collection and make us abandon paper-based platform and go digital," Dr Ulisubisya said.

The system would make different types of data collection tools speak together, unlike the current situation whereby the data are fragmented.

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry, Prof Muhammad Bakari, noted that apart from reducing fragmentations, the tool will develop quality data, improve the capacity of the health care staff on data analysis as well as improving of data sharing through the web portal.

Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Tanzania, Dr Matthieu Kamwa, said the current situation whereby funders and technical partners opt for their own systems with related tools, formats, investigations, surveys and data analysis, resulted into weakening and even the collapse of the critical building block of the national health system.

"Multiplicity of these information systems is a burden and also wastage of resources not only for the country but also for the partners.

"To measure the progress towards the SDG's, we do need reliable and timely disaggregated data," he added.

Executive Director of Sikika, a Non-governmental organization, Mr Irenei Kiria, who spoke on behalf more than 20 Civil society organisations working to improve the health sector in the country, said the launching was timely because the technology allows the citizens have means and greater desire to access and share information.