In collaboration with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), GRID3 has produced the country’s first openly accessible health facility dataset. Published this month, the dataset contains attributes related to the location, name, type, administration, and ownership of over 1,500 health facilities. This information will support timely and effective healthcare service delivery in Sierra Leone.
In 2020, Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Policy, Planning and Information (DPPI, a department within MoHS) and GRID3 began working together to update the country’s health facility data. GRID3 worked with DPPI to better understand gaps within its datasets while also obtaining existing health facility data from other sources, including government departments and health NGOs working in Sierra Leone.
As the first step in the production of the dataset, GRID3 standardized health facility names and types across all the data sources in order to consolidate the data into one comprehensive resource. GRID3 and DPPI also identified health facilities that were missing geocoordinates or had locations that needed to be validated. In 2021-2022, GRID3 partnered with Premise to collect and validate the data that were required to complete the dataset; this additional fieldwork resulted in the collection of data on hundreds of health facilities.
Over the last two years, GRID3 also supported DPPI by organizing a series of workshops to validate the new dataset and improve capacity related to health facility data. The first workshop was attended by MoHS monitoring and evaluation officers from Sierra Leone’s 16 districts; the goal was to review the list of health facilities. Another workshop focused on building the GIS capacity of technical staff across government agencies. And a final workshop, held 8- 10 May 2023, involved district-level MoHS staff systematically reviewing each health facility record. Corrections were made to the data attributes (including the facility’s location). All told, a total of 260 new facilities were identified during the workshops. Additionally, a standard operating procedure (SOP) was developed and reviewed during the final workshop. The document recommends a standardized process with which regulatory authorities, relevant offices, and agencies can manage the data. The SOP outlines processes for adding new facilities, updating information for existing facilities, and marking facilities as deactivated if they have ceased operations. By adopting a standardized process, Sierra Leone’s health officials can manage the dataset as an efficient, streamlined health facility master list (HFML), ensuring consistency in the data.
Click here to access the final version of the dataset approved by the MoHS and published as Sierra Leone National Health Facilities Dataset Version 01.