February 28, 2023, (NAIROBI, Kenya) : The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and GIZ Djibouti Digital Health Project team has today in collaboration convened a meeting with National Policy Facilitators (NPFs) from the IGAD Member States with the objective of spearheading the domestication of the IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy Framework to improve disease surveillance and regional pandemic response within the region.
The meeting is a follow-up action to the endorsement of the Policy Framework by IGAD Member States in Mombasa in March 2022, where each is expected to adopt and domesticate the Policy Framework within its jurisdiction seeking to provide clear guidance for the Member States on health data sharing to ensure that health data is adequately protected.
To support the Member States in this process, IGAD identified a National Policy Facilitator to represent each Member State because these were found to be very instrumental in the implementation of the Regional Policy working in close collaboration with the identified Regional Policy consultants to fast track the implementation road map in each country.
In the opening remarks, on behalf of Madam Fathia Alwan, the Director of IGAD Health and Social Development; Dr. Ahmed Bashir – Lead of the IGAD Health Digitalization Project welcomed the NPFs and expressed IGAD’s gratitude towards the Member States’ commitment and political-will in the accelerated domestication of the Regional Health Data and Sharing Policy Framework.
“I request the NPFs to facilitate the policy implementation through effective collaboration and coordination with all the other parties in their specific member states towards an efficient implementation of the Regional Policy in the IGAD Member States” Dr. Bashir added.
On behalf of GIZ, Mr. Jochen Schmidt; Head of Component – Digital Health also lauded the efforts of IGAD and its Member States for joining efforts with GIZ and other partners in being forward thinking into the future by putting digital health at the forefront in solving regional and cross border health issues in the IGAD Region.
“The Domestication of this Regional Policy is important for IGAD Member States and its populace towards better health surveillance and response. We are grateful and proud to be a part of this journey and thank IGAD and its Member States for being fully committed” Mr. Schmidt reiterated.
During this meeting, the NPFs will furthermore familiarize, review, and finalize the implementation road map for the Member States using the endorsed cross border data sharing framework implementation document. This process will lead to a formal introductory meeting with the Regional Policy Consultants whose role is to support the domestication of the Policy Framework across the IGAD region.
The NPFs were also brought up to speed on the IGAD-GIZ Work plan April 2022 – August 2023 highlighting IGAD and its partners’ commitment towards implementing the key activities within the timeline stipulated in the work plan for the strengthening of health systems within the IGAD Region.
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.