The Health Information Systems Programme started as a pilot project in South Africa in the wake of the apartheid regime. The legacy of apartheid was inscribed into the health information systems of South Africa. In its first phase HISP was a collaborative research project between research and health institutions in South Africa and Norway. Over the years HISP has evolved into a global Health Information System (HIS) network with nodes in South Africa, Norway, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Tanzania and India.
HISP want to promote the usage of empirical founded information for decision making in the health sector. The overall goal is to empower the poor and the marginalised of the world. Based on experience from South Africa and other nodes in the network, guidelines on the kind of information that should be gathered and best practices in gathering and applying this information has been made. On a more practical level the software DHIS has been developed to support data gathering and analysis.
In this chapter we will first step through important steps in the history of HISP. Then I will present the philosophy forming and the methods promoted by HISP. This methods together with DHIS is being exported by HISP to various countries willing to give it a try. I will give a short introduction of the design goals behind DHIS, and how it helps to promote the overall goals of HISP.