Health staff face uphill task in handling several apps to collect data
Deccan Chronicle.| Sampat G Samaritan
An ANM is supposed to register their biometric attendance at the health centre thrice a day
Social health activists are engaged in the collection of data on tuberculosis, leprosy, nutrition, immunisation. (Representational image: DC)
Vijayawada: Health department personnel are facing an uphill task in handling nearly 40 apps to collect data on various medical issues of the people via a door-to-door survey in Andhra Pradesh.
Auxiliary nursing midwives and accredited social health activists are engaged in the collection of data on tuberculosis, leprosy, nutrition, immunization, ‘Friday as Dry Day’ campaign, the Ayushman Bharat registration, blood pressure, blood sugar and several other ailments.
An ANM armed with a tab with internet connectivity starts her work early in the day, visiting houses in her jurisdiction. Each ANM will have to cover nearly 500 households over a fixed period. Each day in a week has a specific assignment or scheme to be covered.
They collect data by interacting with the people and taking photographs. The ANM is supposed to register her biometric attendance at her health centre thrice a day.
The first problem the ANMs face in house survey is resistance from the people to share data on their health issues. One visit will not do. It is rarely that all the family members are present at a house at any given time of the day. Even after feeding information pertaining to members except one or two on the app meant an "incomplete task."
More visits would be required for ANMs to collect the missing information.
The collected data needs to be authenticated with the biometrics of the beneficiaries. Sometimes, the thumb impressions don’t match with the already registered ones in the Aadhaar system available on the app.
In such cases, health personnel avail another option of getting OTP to the registered mobile number of the beneficiaries. But, they reject to share the details, fearing fraud, as bankers always advise people not to share their OTPs with others.
Unless the OTP is given in the app, data-uploading remains pending.
An ANM said, "I have been in-charge for two additional secretariats for a long time and it has been a hectic task to cover all the people in my jurisdiction for collection of data on various health issues and schemes. I visit their houses and upload their data on the apps. After feeding the data on four to five pages, our task remains pending if the beneficiary fails to authenticate the data or share the OTP number with us."
Another ANM said, "Some members in many families migrate to other places for various reasons. As such, our task of data collection remains pending until we get their details. Despite our efforts to persuade people to share their information, we get cursed by them. Some abuse us. Some ask us to explain what benefit they get by sharing information as they already get their wages for their work."
Health experts say that fearing trouble for a failure to fulfill the targets in a given time, the health personnel are focusing more on collection of data mechanically to upload them. "At times, they are even fudging the numbers to claim completion of targets. This defeats the very purpose of collecting data to provide better health care to the people."
The experts suggest streamlining of the process and syncing some apps so that it becomes easy for health personnel to collect data based on facts.
A medical officer said, "There is a need to strengthen the fieldwork and find out as to what extent the health personnel are able to deliver services to the people. If there is more stress on collection of data, only data will be generated irrespective of the ground realities."