Managing health information is critical to
effectively targeting health interventions, to improving the
delivery of health services, and to ensuring both the sustainability
and accountability of the health investments of national governments
and international donors. The increasing complexity of health care
delivery and financing, and the transformative nature of today’s
information and communication technologies, present a challenge to
national health information systems (HIS) as they strive to collect,
analyze, and manage critical information about epidemiological
trends and the delivery of health services.
international donors, including the U.S. Government, the World Bank,
and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, rely
heavily on these systems to access reliable data to make informed
program and policy decisions. National HIS, however, are often too
disease-specific, fragmented, and delinked from strategic program
planning or evaluation to provide health program leaders and
managers the information they need to make informed decisions.
In recent years, significant efforts have been
deployed toward increasing awareness of the importance of
strengthening HIS and toward making substantial additional resources
available for this purpose. The establishment of the Health Metrics
Network (HMN), for example, and the creation of a Global Fund
mechanism devoted to HIS strengthening (rounds 8 and 9) are among
the results of these efforts. Furthermore, recent bilateral and
multilateral agreements re-affirm the coordination, harmonization,
and integration of HIS tasks and services as required elements of
The proposed high-level forum – “Country Ownership Strategies: Leadership Forum On Health Information Systems” – seeks to
capitalize on such ongoing initiatives by proposing ways of accelerating the development and implementation of country-owned strategies for strengthening HIS.
ITU, in collaboration with the
US Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and other
implementing partners, will host the three-day forum in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, in August 2009.
The aim of the forum will be to strengthen and accelerate country-owned and country-led strategies for managing HIS in
six focal countries in East and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). The forum will serve as a venue for sharing approaches and linking countries with potential sources of technical and financial resources for strengthening HIS.
Forum Objectives: The specific objectives of the forum are
- Develop a shared awareness of the best options and
strategies for improving coordinated country HIS
- Establish a common policy agenda and strategy to improve
- Support and strengthen country teams as catalysts for
promoting country ownership of HIS
- Provide participants with information and access to
financial and technical assistance from national and
international partners committed to supporting country-level HIS
Participants: Key policymakers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi,
Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Representatives from international
partner organizations and forum co-sponsors will also participate.
The seminar will be conducted in English and participation is by
Sponsors: The International Telecommunication Union, the US
Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, World
Health Organization, Health Metrics Network, East, Central and
Southern Africa Health Community, and the US Center for Disease
Control and Prevention. Support is provided by USAID-funded projects
– Health Systems 20/20, Health Policy Initiative, and Analysis,
Information Management and Communications Activity – and Touchstone
Consulting Group, Inc.
Forum Agenda: To encourage cross-sector team building and
problem-solving skills, the forum will present interactive
country-level scenarios of increasing complexity. Country
representatives will present where they are in their strategic
planning process and the current status of managing HIS in their
respective countries. Donors and development partners will provide
an overview of available financial and technical resources to
support coordinated country-level HIS. Country delegations will be
engaged before, during, and after the forum to identify key
strengths and weaknesses in their country HIS and to develop
strategies for coordination and improvement. At the end of the
forum, country delegations will have initiated the development of
country action plans.
Should you have any questions regarding the seminar or need any further information, please
Seminar Coordinator for ITU, Ms. Christine Sund, ICT
Applications and Cybersecurity Division, Telecommunication
Development Bureau, International
Telecommunication Union, tel. +41 (22) 730-5203 fax +41
(22) 730-5484, e-mail:
cybmail (at) itu.int.
The forum will be conducted in English.
Official Website (for more details and updated documents)
Journalists are invited to cover the opening and closing
sessions, to request interviews with key participants, and
to attend a luncheon briefing on the opening day.
Registration and badges are required. For those wanting to
attend the briefing luncheon, registration must be done in
advance. Should you have any questions regarding the organization
of the seminar or need any further information, please
Ms. Junior Bridge,
Communications Director, AIM Activity, tel.: +1 202-661-8604, e-mail:
mjrbridge (at) aimglobalhealth.org.