Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Improving health services to displaced persons in Aceh, Indonesia: a balanced scorecard

Grace J Chan, Kristin B Parco, Melva E Sihombing, Susan P Tredwell & Edward J O'Rourke

Problem

After the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, the International Organization for Migration constructed temporary health clinics to provide medical services to survivors living in temporary accommodation centres throughout Aceh, Indonesia. Limited resources, inadequate supervision, staff turnover and lack of a health information system made it challenging to provide quality primary health services.

Approach

A balanced scorecard was developed and implemented in collaboration with local health clinic staff and district health officials. Performance targets were identified. Staff collected data from clinics and accommodation centres to develop 30 simple performance measures. These measures were monitored periodically and discussed at meetings with stakeholders to guide the development of health interventions.

Local setting

Two years after the tsunami, 34 000 displaced persons continued to receive services from temporary health clinics in two districts of Aceh province. From March to December 2007, the scorecard was implemented in seven temporary health clinics.

Relevant changes

Interventions stimulated and tracked by the scorecard showed measurable improvements in preventive medicine, child health, capacity building of clinic staff and availability of essential drugs. By enhancing communication, the scorecard also led to qualitative benefits.

Lessons learnt

The balanced scorecard is a practical tool to focus attention and resources to facilitate improvement in disaster rehabilitation settings where health information infrastructure is poor. Introducing a mechanism for rapid improvement fostered communication between nongovernmental organizations, district health officials, clinic health workers and displaced persons.

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