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The Personal Health Record

Personal Health Record

2004/5: Mrs Saraki (L) and the Hon. Minister of Health Professor Eyitayo Lambo (R)

The PHR is a book where all medical record of each mother and child is recorded and stored for future reference and analysis. It is a book that records all immunizations of a woman/mother (especially the pregnant women) from day of first presentation at the hospital/clinic till she delivers and the child is 5 years old.

The Personal Health Record is a ground breaking health resource developed for the purpose of ensuring effective delivery, evaluation and monitoring of sustainable, effective public health strategies in maternal newborn and child health with the aim of providing a suitable framework for the delivery of primary health care in Nigeria.

The PHR is a wholly new innovation that will reform the record keeping process in our health sector, presenting two simultaneous methods of information capture and storage at a low per capita outlay:

  1. A Hard-copy (paper) record, with key data pages recordable as multi-leaf carbon format
  2. Key information pages pre-designed for computer readability.

This provides a total data storage and retrieval system, which ensures access to vital health history on mother and child to those authorized at anytime, while providing critical demographic information.

The PHR constitutes:

  • A permanent record for every mother and every child born.
  • A portable file-format information tool guaranteeing and recording access to public healthcare, with the ability to easily render additional information without discarding original format.
  • An effective monitoring tool for all children born in Nigeria with in-built adaptability to changes in policy.
  • An added value catalyst on existing government policy and programmes in focused antenatal care immunization, disease prevention and control.
  • A user-friendly parent-custody health record bestowing a sense of identity, entitlement and pride in citizenship akin to the holding of a national passport to health.
  • An all-in-one multi-copy health record easily completed and stored by health care providers and parents simultaneously.
  • An effective, constant communication tool between population and public healthcare providers.
  • A vital resource for planning and monitoring of healthcare policy.
  • A means of tracing previous pregnancies, illness encounters and specific treatment interventions including records of drugs.

Harmonization Meetings on the Nigerian Personal Health Records

Personal Health Record

Having raised the alarm nationally about the deplorable health indices among the most vulnerable in the society, Wellbeing Foundation, a country member (Nigeria) of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, in collaboration with the Perinatal Institute UK, international and national development partners as well as the Integrated Maternal, Newborn & Child Health [IMNCH] core technical committee of the Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, developed the Personal Health Record [PHR]. This home-based health resource tool is targeted to significantly reduce maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality by ensuring the immediate availability of accurate health information about the pregnant mother or her young child[ren] at the point of service delivery. Development was done and WBF hosted two harmonisation meetings to ensure that the tool met local need, suited the Nigerian purpose and was nationally relevant.

The first of the harmonisation meeting held in Ilorin in September 2007 under the distinguished chairmanship of Prof Isaac Akinyele. This served to ensure that the format, content and data collected fit the national policies of health information management and population statistics while being culturally and socially acceptable.

The second harmonization meeting, which held in June 2009, was constituted as the Joint Agency Task Force [JATF], tasked with the objective to streamline the PHR with all the health information needs of the relevant agencies. Participants were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health [FMOH], National Primary Health Care Development Agency [NPHCDA], National Health Insurance Scheme [NHIS], National Population Commission [NPC], National Bureau of Statistics [NBS], World Health Organisation [WHO], Kwara State Ministry of Health [KWSMOH], Academia, Paediatric Association of Nigeria [PAN] and Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria [SOGON]. Specifically, the JATF reviewed the PHR and streamlined it with other existing data capturing tools in Nigeria, finalized the content and gained consensus for implementing its adoption and made recommendations for the immediate and intermediate next steps. Decisions taken at the end of the two day meeting included among other things: the agreement of all agencies represented that the Personal Health Record is a data collection tool that will improve service delivery at all levels of healthcare; that it will serve as a motivational tool for demand creation and increased service uptake and that it will provide quality verifiable data for evidence-based decision making and policy formulation.

Among the recommendations made were that:

  1. The Federal Government take the lead in the implementation of the PHR initiative and urge the States and LGAs, development partners and other key stakeholders to support the implementation processes at all levels of care.
  2. The production and implementation of the PHR for national use should be fast-tracked.
  3. The opportunity of implementation through the Midwives Service Scheme [MSS] should be leveraged in the short term.
  4. To ensure sustainability, the PHR should be domiciled in NPHCDA of the FMOH and support sought from organised private sector.