The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health’s Provincial Health Information Systems Committee (PHISC) had its inaugural meeting which was hosted by the Durban University of Technology (DUT) last Wednesday, 5 December 2018. The committee is mandated by the National Health Act.
In attendance at the meeting were Dr Elizabeth Lutge, Dr Colin Thakur, Jack Govender, Jabulani Tembe, Nhlanhla Ngomane, Dr Vuma Magaqa and Gcina Radebe.
DUT Health Sciences Executive Dean Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, who met and welcomed the committee, commented that as DUT the contribution will be to support the data analytics through the e-Skills CoLab and to encourage development by attracting a cohort of Master’s and PhD health practitioners in this exciting research area.
Nirvasha Moodley, committee chairperson, shared her sentiments and said: “Information may be viewed as an opportunity or a challenge. Information use must be ethical and used primarily for the good of the client. Then we have downstream opportunities such as reporting, governance, and research.” She also added the functions of the committee would be to play an oversight role in ensuring that data and information is well co-ordinated, as well as provide strategic advice on data and information services as a whole in the Province.
DUT’s Dr Thakur, a committee member added, “We live in the era of the 4th Industrial revolution which has elevated the centrality of data. There is a prevailing view that data is the new crude oil and that processed data has the equivalence of refined oil. The metaphor implies that we need to do work with health information to make it more useful.”
Jack Govender, the Chief Director of Health Service Delivery Planning Monitoring and Evaluation added “The range of skills and profile of this committee is noteworthy. I am positive that it will make a strategic contribution to improved delivery of health services to all.”
The committee will meet at least three times a year.
Pictured: Front row (L-R) Nirvasha Moodley, Candy Day, Priya Lallupersad, Nondumiso Buthelezi. Middle row (L-R) Dr Elizabeth Lutge, Dr Colin Thakur, Jack Govender, Jabulani Tembe. Back row (L-R) Nhlanhla Ngomane, Dr Vuma Magaqa and Gcina Radebe, at the event.