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Home : ITU-D : ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division : Events



Windhoek, Namibia

October 25-29, 2010

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.

The largest 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. 

Country ownership is broadly embraced by the international donor community as a critical element of international development. In August 2009, in Ethiopia, the first of a series of regional Health Information Systems (HIS) forums to engage national leadership in HIS ownership was convened. National delegates from six East African countries representing the Ministries of Health, Finance, Telecommunications, and allied development sectors met to discuss and develop next steps in the implementation of their national HIS. Country delegations left the forum with a newly found sense of collaboration and purpose and with concrete next-step action plans to be implemented with already committed donor assistance.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), funded by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), collaborated with other sponsors and donors in the planning and implementation of the East Africa forum. Organizing sponsors included The World Bank; World Health Organization; Health Metrics Network; International Telecommunication Union; East, Central, and Southern Africa Health Community; and others.

Strengthened HIS operations form the backbone for information and data exchange and of sustainable development, accountability, transparency, and evidence-based decision-making. At the forum, participants develop strategies to strengthen national HIS and prepare a country-led action plan. Facilitated sessions help country delegates to reach a common vision and to articulate immediate next steps to implement their country-owned strategy. The forum builds on ongoing efforts to strengthen national HIS and accelerate the process for implementation, including building country institutions’ capacity for HIS.

Based on the success of the East Africa forum, and the high priority placed on country ownership by many donors, the next forum is planned for nine countries in the Southern Africa region: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This forum will be hosted by the Government of Namibia. Joining their colleagues will be selected participants from the East Africa forum who will share their experiences in a South-South learning experience and collaboration.

For general information, visit the HIS Forum web site at

To become a co-sponsor or if you have questions about this effort, contact the HIS Forum Secretariat at myhisforum (at)

Participants: Key policymakers from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Representatives from international partner organizations and forum co-sponsors will also participate.
Sponsors: The International Telecommunication Union, the US Agency for International Development (USAID),
PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the World Bank, World Health Organization, Health Metrics Network, East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community. 

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.

The seminar will be conducted in English and participation is by invitation only.

Should you have any questions regarding the seminar or need any further information, please contact: myhisforum (at)

Seminar Coordinator for ITU, Mr. Hani Eskandar, ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division, Telecommunication Development Bureau, International Telecommunication Union, tel. +41 (22) 730-6026 fax +41 (22) 730-5484, e-mail: cybmail (at)


Meeting Details  
Date: 25-29 October 2010
Location: Windhoek, Namibia

This seminar is hosted by the Government of Namibia and co-organized and co-sponsored by ITU in collaboration with USAID, WHO, the World Bank, and other  implementing partners.


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