A milestone was reached in the digital journey of DGFP eMIS with the declaration of paperless Tangail on 1 March 2020 by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare. This declaration was made in a ceremony organized by DGFP titled DGFP eMIS: Paperless Tangail.
Under the eMIS Initiative, mobile apps have been developed for community level family planning workers, their supervisors and managers. The eMIS aims to digitize the routine Management Information System (MIS) of DGFP. The eMIS tools have been implemented in 32 districts of the country till December 2019. Of them, Tangail became ready to go fully paperless in managing routine service data using eMIS tools.
Mr. Zahid Maleque, MP, Honorable Minister of Health and Family Welfare graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Md. Ashadul Islam, Secretary, Health Services Division and Md. Ali Noor, Secretary, Medical Education & Family Welfare Division were present as Special Guests. Other Special Guests were: Prof Dr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, Directorate General of Health Services; Prof. A H M Enayet Hussain, Director General, Directorate General of Medical Education; Xerses Sidhwa, Director, Office of Health, Population, Nutrition and Education, USAID; and Md. Humayun Kabir, Senior Strategic and Technical Advisor, MEASURE Evaluation. Quazi A K M Mohiul Islam, Director General, Directorate General of Family Planning chaired the session.
Welcome and Presentation
Manoj Kumar Roy, Director (MIS), DGFP delivered the welcome address and made a presentation on eMIS. He narrated the history of eMIS and mentioned how tools are being scaled up in different districts. He mentioned that the field workers of Tangail are fully prepared to go paperless for recording data, preparing reports and submitting those online.
The DGFP has deployed a video conferencing system recently. All the DDFP’s from the eMIS districts were connected to the declaration ceremony using the conferencing system. This also gave the opportunity to make them aware of the expectation of the central level in terms of eMIS scale up.
Parallel Session in Tangail
The program included a parallel session organized in Tangail and the participants were connected remotely. Deputy Commissioner, Tangail and members of the district family planning committee were present. Field level users and managers narrated their experience, that included Family Welfare Assistant, Family Planning Inspector, Family Welfare Visitor, Sub-Assistant Community Medical Officer, Medical Officer-Maternal and Child Health, Upazila Family Planning Officer and Deputy Director, Family Planning.
Speeches by Special Guests
Md. Humayun Kabir made a presentation on sustainability of DGFP eMIS and informed the audience that a document with recommendations for making the eMIS sustainable would soon be shared with the DGFP. Xerses Sidhwa, Director, OHPNE, USAID mentioned the support provided by USAID in the health sector. He congratulated the DGFP for successes achieved during pilot implementation and also scale up in other districts. Prof. A H M Enayet Hussain, DG, DGME congratulated the DGFP for effective digitization. Prof Abul Kalam Azad, DG, DGHS mentioned that the DGHS has been using digital systems for long, but have not ventured into paperless activities yet, a notable action on the part of the DGFP.
Md. Ali Noor, Secretary, Medical Education & Family Welfare Division mentioned that he was proud of the achievement of the DGFP. He congratulated the DGFP for setting a great precedent. He emphasized the need for ensuring security of data. He also prioritized the storage of data using government resources. Md. Ashadul Islam, Secretary, Health Services Division expressed satisfaction on the achievement of DGFP at the onset of Mujib Barsho, the centenary of the birth of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of the nation. He also highlighted need for ensuring sustainability.
Remarks from the Chair
The DG, DGFP mentioned that digital way of working saves time and increases productivity. It is also beneficial for the environment. He recounted the experience earned during his travel to a remote island (Nijhum Dwip). He found that tablets have added new dimensions in the service delivery processes there.
Speech of the Chief Guest
Mr. Zahid Maleque, MP, Honorable Minister of Health and Family Welfare expressed satisfaction on learning that Tangail has touched a milestone in its digital journey. He observed that digital system offered a lot of advantages over age-old manual systems. Digitization increases efficiency, reduces the mistakes and brings accuracy to data collection and preservation. The field workers would be free from carrying the burden of big register. Availability of timely and reliable data would benefit the policy makers in terms of planning. He also discussed about the preparedness of MOHFW for corona virus attack and advised that the immigrants should avoid travel at this hour.
The Significance of Paperless eMIS
The eMIS tools automate the entire business processes of community level workers. The users can perform all their tasks using the eMIS tools such as data collection and any services provided, generation of monthly reports. The users of eMIS tools are facing double burden of work as they also record their activities on conventional paper registers or forms. This dual burden can be avoided if only digital tools are used or papers are discontinued altogether.
The DGFP have evaluated how the tools are used through numerous field visits, discussion with managers and field workers and decided to give go ahead to paperless eMIS. This also denotes their confidence on the eMIS tools. For DGFP, this also goes toward implementing the Digital Bangladesh vision of current government.
Tangail was declared paperless on that day creating scope for other district and upazila managers to start paperless in their jurisdiction, when they are ready.