Workshop trains local health workers to record accurate statistics [Archives:2008/1160/Local News]

May 2 2008

By: Moneer Al-Homaidi
SANA'A, May 25 )The Minister of Health and Population, Abdul Kareem Rasa' , recently held a training course at the Movenpick hotel in Sana'a on how to improve Yemen's capacity to monitor HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis [TB] and malaria. The workshop was financed by Global Fund, a multilateral organization that finances and loans money to other organizations to help fight these three diseases worldwide, and ran from May 25 to 27.

During the workshop, Professor Julian Gold, senior staff specialist and director of the WHO Collaboration Center, supervised the project and introduced the Monitoring and Evaluation Systems into the workshop's agenda.

Gold directed the participants in the workshop, who came from the Ministry of Health and Population, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Endowments, and various civil society organizations, to divide themselves into three discussion groups according to their fields: one for HIV/AIDS specialists, one for tuberculosis specialists and another group for malaria specialists.

They were all given a questionnaire to voice their opinions on how Yemen treats patients with these diseases. Through these questionnaires, the participants weighed the strengths and the weaknesses of Yemen's capacity to monitor HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, then discussed possible plans of action for dealing with these three deadly and pervasive killers.

At the end of the three-day program, the groups came together to present their collective thoughts about implementing their plans in the field. The groups said that one of Yemen's strengths is the Health Ministry's leadership and advocacy of the anti-TB program. One of Yemen's weaknesses in monitoring these diseases stems from local health workers, who do not collect data according to guidelines. Disease statistics are recorded through census information, spot checks and field visits to hospitals and treatment centers. If this information is not recorded properly, it will skew Yemen's statistics on disease prevalence. For this particular problem, the three groups suggested holding a bi-annual training course in data collection for local health workers so that they can record the number of HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB patients more accurately.

The UN's most recent report on Yemen's progress towards the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] said that there was insufficient data to find out if Yemen would meet the goal of controlling HIV/AIDS by 2015. The reported stated that although the disease in not widespread in Yemen, there is “weak institutional capacity to tackle HIV/AIDS