Health information is any quantifiable
and non-quantifiable information that can be used by health decision-makers and
clinicians to better understand disease processes and health care issues, and
to prevent, diagnose or treat health problems. A health information system
refers to inter-related component parts for acquiring and analyzing data and
providing information (management information, health statistics, health literature) for the management of a health programme or system and for monitoring health activities.
Country health information systems
include a range of population-based and health facility-based data sources.
The main population-based sources of health information are census, household
surveys and (sample) vital registration systems. The main health
facility-related data sources are public health surveillance, health services
data (also sometimes referred to as health management information system or
routine health information system) and health system monitoring data (e.g.
human resources, health infrastructure, financing). Lastly, national health
accounts can provide a comprehensive picture of health financing.
Health information should guide
mobilization and allocation of resources, prioritization of health programmes and research, and improve efficiency and
effectiveness of health programmes. For information
to influence management in an optimal way, it has to be used by decision
makers at each point of the management spiral. This means that not only
policy makers and managers need to make use of information in decision making
but also care providers including doctors, health technicians, and community
health workers. WHO's work focuses on improving
availability, quality and use of health information across levels.
In India, the health information
exists at various levels, forms and systems. There is a wide variety of data
that is collected by number of agencies mainly government both at the central
and state level through routine data collection and also periodic sample
surveys. While various initiatives at strengthening of health information
systems is underway, challenges continue in terms of
reliability, relevance, timeliness, harmonization as well as quality of
Some of the key initiatives undertaken in collaboration with the
Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), MOHFW, GOI
includes improving the quality and timeliness of health related information
and statistics, review of health information systems, preparation of training
material for ICD 10, development of National Health Profile 2005 & 2006.
Another initiative has been the development of a health repository which
seeks to compile and make available information and evidence from India
on various health and related issues.
With a view to strengthen evidence
based policy making, measuring the burden of disease and conditions in the
country and understanding which sub-populations are most effected is a
critical component. In response to the lack of basic, accurate data for
informed priority setting, WHO and others have undertaken work on estimating
the global burden of disease (BoD). The Indian Council of
Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a database for disease burden
estimation for malaria, filaria, dengue and diarrhoeal diseases.
Census of India
Central Bureau of Health Intelligence – India
Health Metrics Network
National Family Health
National Sample Survey
Organization (NSSO) Reports
UNDP Human Development
UNDP State Human Development
UNDP MDG Monitor
UN Population Division
World Development Indicators
: Key Development Data & Statistics
World Bank: HNP Statistics
World Health Report
World Health Statistics Report 2009 New
WHOSIS (WHO Statistical Information System)