Emphasizing Country Accountability while Monitoring the Global Goals

April 27th, 2016 | Viewpoint


The time has come for countries to start emphasizing the accountability part of measurement for health.

This week, the Health Data Collaborative is hosting the first regional conference on Measurement and Accountability for Health is taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One of the main objectives of this conference is to facilitate regional and country response to health data needs.

The Bangladesh Ministry of Health is one of the organizers, and participants have joined from Indonesia,  Cambodia, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Myanmar,  Nepal, and the Philippines. A delegation from South Africa is also attending to learn from the experiences of the Asian countries.

During the pre-conference informal discussions,  I was talking to Jim Thomas—Project Director for MEASURE Evaluation—about what this conference would mean for the countries in Asia.

Our global focus over the past year has been (broadly) on improving measurement. From the 100 Core Health Indicators list published by the Health Data Collaborative to the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators, we’ve been working towards greater streamlining and systemization of indicators. Countries are making good progress in bringing in electronic solutions for improving their data systems to track these indicators, and there is renewed interest in ensuring data is available, of high quality, and being used for decisionmaking..

This regional conference will help advance the realization that the use of health data is for country accountability as well though—not just accountability against global goals. Both the public and private sectors need to nurture the intention of holding themselves accountable to the citizens they are supposed to serve.

With that mindset, this conference can be the starting point for the Asian countries to strengthen measurement and accountability for health where measurement is a tool for governments to hold themselves accountable to improve the health of their people.

Written by Tariq Azim

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