Annual Joint Meeting of National Health Information System (NHIS) and Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) Managers with Technical and Financial Partners in the ECOWAS Region: General Report
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Author(s): West African Health Organization, Organisation Ouest Africaine de la Santé, Organização Oeste Africana da Saúde
The 2015 Joint Meeting of National Health Information Systems (NHIS) and of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) Managers from the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) region was held May 18–21, 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The conference, hosted by the Ghana Ministry of Health, was co-organized by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with support from MEASURE Evaluation, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 150 participants from the 15 member countries that make up ECOWAS—along with regional and international partners, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector—discussed lessons learned related to the performance of health information systems, technical and policy considerations, and needs and priorities for action. The meeting provided an important framework to develop solutions to the long-term issue of achieving health information systems “interoperability” in West Africa—that is, the ability of governments, health care providers, and communities to access and exchange information about health.
Meeting objectives were to:
- Analyze the organization and performance of national health information systems and disease surveillance and response systems to identify strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned in the Ebola crisis
- Identify mechanisms and concrete actions to support the integration of health management information systems in member countries
- Develop action plans to strengthen the institutional and operational capacity of national health information systems in member countries and to track implementation of proposed interventions
As countries move from responding to the Ebola epidemic to longer-term planning, they will need to design health information systems that are sustainable and are driven by country needs. To achieve this, capacity building of personnel at all levels is crucial—including capacity building in data analysis and use at the lowest level of the health system, so that facilities and communities will be able to recognize problems and take appropriate action. Coordinating and harmonizing approaches to strengthen health information systems is an essential part of the internationally shared commitment to prevent the social and economic devastation and human suffering that infectious diseases are capable of inflicting. Strengthening the operational capacity of health information systems in the West African region will also advance broader efforts for better health care and better health for all.
This document is not available in print from MEASURE Evaluation.