The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (CCP) has presented a comprehensive study on Understanding Health Information Needs at the State, District, Block, and Village Levels titled, “Key Findings from a Needs Assessment in Uttar Pradesh.” In addition, K4Health knowledge management solutions that can improve reach, usefulness, and use of health information and strengthen capacity were proposed.
The study was conducted by Knowledge for Health (K4Health) as part of a multi-country study on qualitative assessment of health information needs in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. The lessons learned and best principles are intended to be applied across a wide range of public health initiatives to take advantage of opportunities to leverage health care networks. Additionally, findings will help inform key decision-makers at all levels about the gaps and barriers to program implementation that can often interrupt, or slow, health services to the district, block, and grassroots levels.
Meeting the information needs of health personnel at every level-from policymakers to frontline providers-can contribute to health systems strengthening, the impact of behaviour change activities, and the overarching effectiveness and efficiency of the state-level public health programs. The study identified opportunities for knowledge management strengthening in Uttar Pradesh by improving the flow of information and bridging all levels of public health implementers.
Some recommendations of the study are to create a state health information agency at the state level that would be ideally placed to manage, coordinate, and track the health information needs of personnel at the district, block and grassroots levels, strengthen information flow at the district/block level – fulfilling the information needs of the district and block level officials who supervise and support service delivery can result in more effective programme implementation, tailor information to specific cadres: Tailoring the content and the format of information for a particular audience is essential to making sure that it is understood and applied in the field, promote an information seeking culture: Most health personnel at all levels take a passive approach to seeking and sharing information, hence health system should take a pro-active approach to promoting an information seeking culture, develop ICT solutions for innovative and sustainable initiatives that model public-private partnerships and build the capacity of professional networks to enhance information sharing among like-minded cadres of individuals.