November 24, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The IGAD-GIZ Digital Health Project team in collaboration with Health Management Information System (HMIS) Experts Ministries of Health within the IGAD Member States have this morning kicked off a meeting with an aim to bolster regional disease surveillance for pandemic preparedness and response in the IGAD region.
In the official opening statements; speaking on behalf of the Director of IGAD Health and Social Development Director; the Coordinator of the IGAD Digital Health Project Dr. Ahmed Bashir extended his sincere appreciation for the relentless commitment of the Member States in making efforts towards the realization and implementation of the IGAD Heath Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework that was endorsed by the IGAD Health Ministers in March 2022.
“By the member states sharing their data and disease burden through a regional platform where data sharing will be advanced; IGAD and its partners will be able to prepare and respond to pandemics or epidemics in the region in a much faster and effective way at both national and regional level” Dr. Bashir added.
He underscored the need for the Member States to review their in-country health data pipeline and collectively make recommendations for enhanced, safer, faster transmission of health data from cross-border to national aggregation systems for effective response and timely regional interventions thus strengthened national surveillance systems through the regional data warehouse and dashboard.
On behalf of GIZ, Mr. Jochen Schmidt; Head of Component – Digital Health reiterated that through regular movement of people within the IGAD Member States there is need to enhance data collection and usage of the same should be to the benefit to the IGAD citizens through timely response by IGAD and partners.
“Disease preparedness is key and through the regional platform together as a region can achieve the implementation of the IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy through enhancement of the health national systems and domestication thus benefiting the people of the IGAD region” Mr. Schmidt added.
Representing the Republic of Kenya; the host country, Dr. Wesley Ooga, Division Head of Health Informatics at the Ministry of Health urged the IGAD Member States to use digital health as an enabler to disease surveillance for better health care and for timely response for a healthy region.
During this meeting, the experts will be able to discuss and get orientated on the architecture of the IGAD Regional Disease Surveillance System as well as get acquainted with the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and their use in fostering interoperability among digital healthcare systems.
Through a good understanding of the role of in-country HMIS systems in the domestication and application of the IGAD Regional Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework, the discussions and inclusive support provided to the national systems will inform the IGAD Digital Health Project April 2022 – September 2023 workplan for efficient and effective system implementation.
The meeting will also foster and maintain good relationships with the Health Information Systems (HIS), the Infectious Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and the Policy and Planning teams from the Ministries of Health for the integration of digital systems at national level to regional level for better pandemic preparedness within the IGAD region.
The Digital Health Project is financially supported by the European Union and BMZ (German Cooperation), coordinated by IGAD and being implemented by GIZ.