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Table 4 A lesson in data management

From: Using an action learning methodology to develop skills of health managers: experiences from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Participant:..It was just one problem that I had from the beginning that took a while to resolve, it had something to do with data management.
Interviewer: Yes.
Participant: So bringing that problem (to action learning), I think most of the managers told me towards the end (of the action learning meetings) that they all have…the same problem.
So with this process it was like – it was a huge task and we thought that it was just my responsibility. Data management is my responsibility but throughout the [action learning] process we realized that a very small portion of the data management was our responsibility. It was all the other key factors that were put in place to make sure that the [data] management was right, that fell off. We were able to identify these problems.
Interviewer: In the Action Learning?
Participant: Yes, in the Action Learning, with their guidance in the whole group I took it back to my institution to call the FIO (Facility Information Officer) and ask(ed) her – what happened with the data and this is the process, I developed a flow chart. It’s only when the flow chart went up that we realized ok, “these are where the problems are”, physically looking at it and seeing the problems, these were where the problems were, so we took it back, so much so that the FIO developed a policy.
Interviewer: Wow!
Participant: She developed a policy on data management and, well, I had to develop one for my ward as such, which is a draft policy but hers actually went through the whole [Department of Health] system.
Interviewer: Shew!
Participant: She developed a policy on (data) management, which we did not have.
(Group 1, Urban District, Operational Manager, Interview 1)