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Records Management and Open Data in Healthcare Provision in Africa: Reflections and Lessons for Botswana

Records Management and Open Data in Healthcare Provision in Africa: Reflections and Lessons for Botswana
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Author(s): Peter Mazebe II Mothataesi Sebina (University of Botswana, Botswana) and Balulwami Grand (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 13
Source title: Health Information Systems and the Advancement of Medical Practice in Developing Countries
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Kgomotso H. Moahi (University of Botswana, Botswana), Kelvin Joseph Bwalya (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Peter Mazebe II Sebina (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2262-1.ch001


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Governments in Africa have made huge ICT investments which have been intended to improve the governance process hence their uptake of e-government. One of the benefits derived from all this has been the open data initiative through which some countries in Africa have empowered citizens to better inform themselves and others through access, harnessing and reusing government held data. Another of the benefits has been enhanced open government which has an array of access to information platforms. While indications are that open data can lead to improvements among lives in the Continent arising from availability and access to healthcare data, this chapter advances that a critical element of open data which is often overlooked and little regarded most times, is records management. Arising from the fundamental role of records management in open data, the Republic of Ireland through the Programmable City Working Paper 3 avers that open data must among others be seen as a component part of records management (Lauriault, 2014). The chapter argues that the key elements of open data notably: availability of data, in other words information content in the form of data must be available on platforms which are easily accessible and easy to manipulate for purposes of use and reuse; transparency of the open data process; information security; information privacy, and finally trust which could lead to acceptance, reuse of data and also emerging encouragement among citizens that data is worth accessing, using and reusing, are all made possible by good public sector records management. Records management, this chapter shows, is a clear means through which effective open data especially in healthcare may be achieved. While the chapter draws out lessons which Botswana could learn from and makes recommendations for workable open data in the country's public health sector, these are nonetheless applicable to many African countries and others in the developing world.

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