Twenty years ago, in February 1989, FRHS was started as a non-profit organisation to provide technical assistance to various health programs around the world.
We started as the secretariat to the Epidemiology and Health Management Network - a learning and knowledge sharing network of seven major Institutions in India (AIIMS, CINI, CMC Vellore, IIHMR Pachod, TISS, KEM Pune, IIMA). This network tapped into the health management expertise residing in various premier institutions across India to forge institutional partnerships to enrich the field of health management.
Our focus areas have been poly-centric and multi-state, with research studies that led to developing field research tools for understanding issues in child health, maternal mortality, child nutrition and quality of reproductive health. We received funds from organisations such as CARE, WHO and the World Bank, and collaborated with the ICRW network of institutions that helped us in developing expertise in the area of adolescent reproductive health and nutrition of young people.
We also specialize in policy and program evaluation. Since the first evaluation project carried out in 1989 (India Population Project, Kerala) FRHS has undertaken several program evaluations for major funding organizations such as CARE, DFID, UNICEF, ICICI Social Initiative Group and for smaller organizations like Deepak Charitable Trust, ICRW, and APSA.
Designing health management information system (HMIS) is our third area of work and also our unique Strength. Within HMIS, FRHS has specialized in designing information systems that help program managers track each beneficiary and the services he/she received. FRHS pioneered this work in 1989 by installing a system in Gandhi Nagar district of Gujarat. It tracked mother and child care services received by over 30,000 women and children in the district. Since then FRHS has applied this concept to different programs like HIV/AID (developed for NIMHANS and Samraksha), Mother and Child health (DHAN); and Child nutrition (CHETNA).
FRHS is committed to initiating new information technologies in rural areas. We installed microcomputers at rural health center in 1989, introduced laptops to PHC staff, convertible microcomputers and now we promote the usage of mobile phones for improving health. Our constant attempt has been to reduce drudgery in information gathering and reporting, to increase speed of data transfer and maximize data use by program managers. FRHS is currently partnering with FHI in its Urban Health Initiative in 10 cities in UP, where a new model of integrated HMIS is being tried out. In this model, information is obtained from clients and service providers for triangulation; information is gathered using mobile telephones; data are transferred to program managers through SMS or GPRS for prompt use.
Currently, FRHS is working with Government of Gujarat and a network of NGOs in Gujarat, implementing a pilot project on Village Health Committees training and capacity building. In collaboration with Harvard School of Public health, FRHS has undertaken an operations research project aimed at enhancing performance of primary health care. FRHS is partnering with FHI for designing and implementing integrated health management information system in 10 cities of Uttar Pradesh. Opportunities for partnerships with technology companies like Intel and Prognosys have opened up.