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March 2, 2023, (NAIROBI, Kenya) : The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and GIZ Djibouti Digital Health Project team has today convened a technical meeting between the National Policy Facilitators (NPFs) from the IGAD Member States and the Regional Policy Consultants; IntelliSoft Consulting and HHK consulting who are the experts and are a Consortium with the objective of spearheading the domestication of the IGAD Regional Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework with an emphasis to cross borders.

Having taken note of the important role of the NPFs in the implementation of the Policy Framework, IGAD convened this meeting so as to initialize in-country dialogue and to outline the content and context to foster exchange of opinions, experiences and best practices as well as to familiarize, review and finalize the Implementation Roadmap Template proposed for adoption by each Member State in its implementation process.

In addition to the Regional Policy Consultants providing expertise and support to IGAD Member States to harmonize policies, protocols and practices and facilitate the Member States in adopting and adapting the Regional Policy Framework in practical, relevant, and feasible ways for the alignment with the Implementation Roadmap.

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 highlighted that the Policy Framework is to address the high disease burden in the IGAD Region through data collection and surveillance for timely response to disease and pandemics.

“This meeting is to continue dialogue in our region and how we can support and strengthen our Member States in implementing the Regional Policy and we are grateful for the continuous support  of our partners like the European Union, German Cooperation and GIZ who have walked the journey with us for a healthier people and transformed cross-border health data sharing and protection across the IGAD Member States” Dr. Bashir added.

On behalf of GIZ, Mr. Jochen Schmidt; Head of Component – Digital Health reiterated the importance and timeliness of the meeting highlighting that digital health is the future of healthcare through the use health data for better management and response to diseases and pandemics.

He pledged their support and assistance to IGAD and its Member States in the policy processes, implementation and domestication of the regional health data sharing policy thus collectively finding solutions towards more affordable and accessible health care within the IGAD region.

On behalf of the Regional Consultants the Founder & Lead Consultant of HHK Consultancy Ms. Hanan El-Kathiri, she intimated that the approach the consultancy will be adopting is both country and context specific being cognizant of the uniqueness of each Member State.

The Regional Consultants presented and discussed their preliminary Inception Report to IGAD, NPFs and GIZ capturing the objective of the project, the approach to be adopted, identified key stakeholders for purposes of developing communication plans and stakeholder engagement, the project implementation approach, risk management plan and lastly monitoring and evaluation plan.

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 implemented by GIZ.

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