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Challenges to implementing a National Health Information System in Cameroon: perspectives of stakeholders

Emmanuel Ngwakongnwi, Mary Bi Suh Atanga, Hude Quan
  • Mary Bi Suh Atanga
    Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bamenda, Cameroon
  • Hude Quan
    Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada


In the early 90s, the Cameroon Ministry of Health implemented a National Health Information System (NHIS) based on a bottom- up approach of manually collecting and reporting health data. Little is known about the implementation and functioning of the NHIS. The purpose of this study was to assess the implementation of the NHIS by documenting experiences of individual stakeholders, and to suggest recommendations for improvement. We reviewed relevant documents and conducted face-to-face interviews (N=4) with individuals directly involved with data gathering, reporting and storage. Content analysis was used to analyze textual data. We found a stalled and inefficient NHIS characterized by general lack of personnel, a labor-intensive process, delay in reporting data, much reliance on field staff, and lack of incentives. A move to an electronic health information system without involving all stakeholders and adequately addressing the issues plaguing the current system is premature.


health information system, health records, stakeholder analysis, Cameroon, Africa.

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Submitted: 2013-01-18 00:32:32
Published: 2014-03-17 15:41:46
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Copyright (c) 2014 Emmanuel Ngwakongnwi, Mary Bi Suh Atanga, Hude Quan

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