November 21, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The IGAD – GIZ’s Digital Health Project team this morning kicked off a meeting with the IGAD Member States National Policy Facilitators to orient them with their roles and responsibilities in the effective implementation and domestication of the IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework within the IGAD Region so as to improve disease surveillance and regional pandemic response.
In the opening remarks, on behalf of the Director of IGAD Health and Social Development; Dr. Bashir Ahmed – Coordinator of the IGAD Health Digitalization Project welcomed the policy experts and commended them for their commitment and effort towards the implementation of the Regional Policy.
“IGAD appreciates the commitment of its Member States from the policy endorsement in March 2022 by Health Ministers to now the implementation stage and also the support of its partners such as BMZ, the European Union and GIZ. We are optimistic and are in full trust that together we will ensure there is implementation at cross border areas for us to effectively respond to pandemics and improve disease surveillance in our region”, he said.
On behalf of GIZ, Mr. Jochen Schmidt; Head of Component – Digital Health also lauded the efforts of IGAD and its Member States in laying a foundation in disease preparedness using a unique approach for disease surveillance.
“GIZ has the pleasure to support IGAD Member States to implement and undertake the task ahead. The IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy is a milestone and its implementation requires all stakeholders to accomplish the task collectively” he added.
During this meeting, the national facilitators will have a good understanding of existing data sharing and protection documents as well as familiarize themselves with the April 2022-September 2023 work plan.
Through this meeting, IGAD continues to create, foster and maintain good relationships with the respective Ministries of Health, Policy and Planning Departments, Technical Health Management Information Systems, and other relevant partners for the successful domestication of the regional policy framework in its member states.
The National Policy Facilitators were identified and found to be very instrumental in the implementation of the regional policy working in close collaboration with the technical teams such as the Health Management Information systems, surveillance and monitoring and other stakeholders.
The IGAD Digital Health Project is mandated to oversee the implementation of the IGAD Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework; which was endorsed by the IGAD Ministers Council in March 2022. The project is financially supported by the European Union and BMZ (German Cooperation), coordinated by IGAD and being implemented by GIZ.