The electronic Management Information System (eMIS) for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) began with pilot implementation in 2015 in 2 districts. Under the eMIS, apps have been developed for both community and facility workers, which are introduced in phases. The results of the pilot were encouraging for scaling up and beginning from 2018, one after another district has been brought under the eMIS by the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP). By May 2019, eMIS was rolled out in 25 districts either fully or partially. The total districts under eMIS reached 28 in September 2019.
The eMIS tools were developed with support from USAID through its implementing partners (IPs), namely MEASURE Evaluation/icddr,b and MaMoni MNCSP. Technical support for field implementation was required at initial stages. However, since June 2019, the DGFP has assumed the responsibility of implementation and managing the key technical aspects during roll-out of tools in the field.
The role of UFPAs in eMIS
The eMIS is an enterprise level undertaking and addresses the requirement of different tiers of the DGFP. Community and facility level workers are the main users of eMIS apps. The UFPAs are part of administrative set up at upazila (sub-district) office. They were not assigned any role earlier, nor were they given any eMIS training previously. They have access to computer/laptop in the upazila and submit national forms online or they are familiar with digital environment.
Personal details of providers, their catchment areas with geographical identifiers are collected before introduction of eMIS. These tasks were previously performed by the team of IPs. The DGFP decided to assign those responsibilities to the UFPAs. They would also perform activities like preparing tabs for use by the field workers along with loading of apk or software. The upazila set up of DGFP is given additional roles with inclusion of UFPAs.
Training for UFPAs
In order to enable the UFPAs to undertake their assigned tasks, a training program was designed. The implementation team of icddr,b prepared materials such as presentation and hands-on exercises including demos for the one-day training.
The DGFP organized first-ever training program for Upazila Family Planning Assistants (UFPA) on eMIS on 24 October 2019. The event was held in Divisional Office Conference room at Chittagong. Manoj Kumar Roy, Director, MIS, DGFP and Director, Chittagong Division chaired the opening session. Md. Humayun Kabir, Senior Strategic and Technical Advisor was present. The chair highlighted the role of the UFPAs in managing the eMIS roll-out and monitoring after implementation. Amir Hossain, Deputy Director (in-charge), Chittagong and Subrata Kumar Chowdhury, Assistant Director, Family Planning, Chittagong were present. Sanaullah Nuri, Deputy Director (MIS) and Naser Uddin Howlader, Deputy Program Manager (MIS-OP), DGFP were also present.
Dr. Twaha Mansurn Haque, Program Manager, icddr,b and Md. Sohrab Bhuiya, Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer from icddr,b implementation team conducted the training program course. They demonstrated how to collect data on providers and their catchment areas in structured forms and how input those online. The participants included one UFPA each from 49 upazilas of 5 districts of Chittagong division, namely, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
The training clarified the role of the UFPAs prior to and during implementation of eMIS tools and would allow the upazila staff to be more engaged in eMIs implementation and monitoring. The training also set the stage for roll out of eMIS tools in 5 districts of Chittagong. The DGFP is going to organize training program for FWA eRegister for the FWAs working in those 5 districts of Chittagong next month. Eventually, that would bring the total number of eMIS districtts to 33 by March 2020.