The DGFP organized a Laptop Distribution Ceremony among the eMIS Districts and Upazilas on 1 Aug 2019. We have covered this event in a separate blog. The event offered an opportunity to understand the eMIS implementation scenario. Md. Luthful Kibria, Deputy Director, Family Planning (DDFP), Tangail had been playing a crucial role in eMIS implementation beginning from 2015 and till date. As the district manager, he managed the field level implementation in the district. He elaborated the implementation experience in the event. He walked the audience through different stages of eMIS implementation while narrating the challenges and ways of overcoming them.
He mentioned that two pilot upazilas in two districts were selected for eMIS implementation in March 2015, one of which was Basail of Tangail. The family welfare assistants (FWA) and NGO data collectors began data collection work using Population Registration System (PRS). The FWAs had no experience of data collection using tablets and they had to be monitored regularly to attain satisfactory level of performance. They were also motivated and encouraged by the managers. A Facebook page was opened solely for the purpose maintaining regular contacts with them, where they were able to raise any kind of issues. On the basis of initial successes, eMIS tools were expanded to the remaining 11 upazilas of Tangail later.
Initially, the FWAs and health assistants shared the workload for registration. But due to the need for adherence to the schedule and also for variations in their catchment areas, the FWAs worked intensively to complete the registration of households and individuals. They also completed the registration of eligible couples (ELCO), who receive family planning services at the household level. For this reason, registration took longer time than expected. FWA eRegister was introduced in Basail in 2016 and completed in all other upazilas by that year. The Family Welfare Visitors (FWV) started using the apps since October of 2017 and are recording all services provided to the clients in the union health and family planning centers. Tablets were provided to Sub Assistant Community Medical Officers (SACMO) in January 2019. Currently the FWAs are using version 2.7 introduced in 15 May 2019, which is quite stable.
Regarding the end of month reporting requirements, he explained that 98% of FWAs and FPIs are able to generate MIS Form 1 and MIS Form 2 through apps. All FWAs and FPIs are able to submit their workplan or advance tour program using digital tools. MIS 3 and MIS 4 forms could be generated automatically from facilities and upazila level respectively. On 31st July Mirzapur successfully generated MIS 4 Forms and all other upazilas would be doing so by the current week.
The tools are linked between FWA-FWV and SACMOs, which are ensuring sharing of data between workers whether in the field and at facilities.
All the FWA, FPI, FWV and SACMOs now have email ids. There is a Facebook page with the title “e-mis e-reg Tangail.” The field workers use it to raise issues or discuss about the eMIS tools among themselves.
Challenges and Recommendations
He also elaborated the challenges such as, vacancies at the field level. He stated that 247 out of 631 units are now vacant. As a result, many workers are responsible for more than one unit. Similarly posts of FPIs are also vacant and some FPIs are managing additional unions. There are issues in distribution of villages among the new and old unions. There are no activities in the pourashavas. The NGO workers who are working in place of FWAs have not been engaged in the eMIS activities. They could be allowed to use the digital solutions. He also highlighted the need for replacing old tablets and suggested that tablets distributed in 2015 should be immediately replaced.
He emphasized the need for introducing a unique ELCO number across the country for the ELCOs. In conclusion, he stated that as all activities from data entry to forms generation could be done digitally through apps of web based tools, Tangail is now well prepared to go fully paperless.