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Research brief

Introducing the Data-Informed Platform for Health

by Dr Bilal Avan

published 12 April 2017

Meeting the challenge of local decision-making for Maternal and Newborn Health in West Bengal, India

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Data Informed Platform for Health

What is a Data-Informed Platform for Health?

In low-resource settings the use of local data for health system planning and decision-making is often limited. What data there is may be of poor quality and a data sharing culture is lacking. Health administrators often have limited capacity to analyse and use data for decision-making.

The overall aim of the Data-Informed Platform for Health (DIPH) is to improve Maternal and Newborn Child Health (MNCH) programmes and services at state and sub-state levels. The DIPH brings together key district-level data on inputs and processes.

The specific objective of the DIPH at the district level is to promote the use of local data for decision-making, priority-setting and planning through the introduction of a structured decision-making process.

“Sharing health related data from diverse sources empowers local decision makers”

Dr Sanghita Bhattacharyya, Public Health Foundation India

In working to transform the DIPH from a concept to a health systems initiative, the IDEAS project undertook a series of implementation research activities including, a background assessment and the development and testing of the intervention.

In the Health Policy and Planning Journal ( – Volume 31, suppl 2, September 2016) we reported on the feasibility of establishing the DIPH in the context of district health systems in India, Nigeria and Ethiopia, taking into consideration five dimensions: technology and systems, economics, law and politics, operations and schedule feasibility.

“Local stakeholders viewed the DIPH as a potentially valuable strategy for enhancing the use of local data in collaborative and effective decision-making”

Dr Bilal Avan, IDEAS

The DIPH Prototype in West Bengal, India

IDEAS worked in collaboration with Public Health Foundation of India to test the DIPH in two districts of West Bengal State – South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas – which have a population of 18 million people. The West Bengal University of Health Sciences is a local partner in this initiative. Continuous monitoring of data and an evaluation of the prototype phase will be used to adapt and scale-up the DIPH across West Bengal.


Profile picture of Dr Bilal Avan
Dr Bilal Avan

Associate Professor