CapacityPlus Promotes National Health Information Systems in West Africa

Dykki Settle, informatics team lead for CapacityPlus, presented at the ‘Sub-Regional Workshop on Health Information Systems and Epidemiological Surveillance in the Economic Community of West-African States Region’ on November 24 in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was sponsored by the West African Health Association (WAHO) and brought together representatives from all 15 member countries to promote developing national health information systems (NHIS) to improve the prevention and control of epidemic prone diseases.

Settle explained how a human resources information system (HRIS) is a key component of an NHIS, containing vital information on the health workforce available to respond to an epidemic. He gave an overview of the project’s HRIS strengthening process and the iHRIS Suite of HRH software. He focused in on the project’s recent partnership with WAHO to pilot and implement the iHRIS software in several member countries, and highlighted potential opportunities for future collaboration.

Workshop participants agreed on a number of recommendations to advance NHIS. Among them, each country is expected to integrate NHIS training in school curricula and develop a strategic plan to strengthen NHIS. WAHO is tasked with harmonizing NHIS data at the regional level, advocating for NHIS funds, and developing mechanisms to exchange epidemic outburst information.

As a result of the workshop, CapacityPlus was invited to join the WAHO Health Information Systems Partners’ Forum, along with organizations such as Health Information Systems Programme, Health Metrics Network, World Health Organization, and United Nations Population Fund. This group will advise WAHO and its member countries on developing a regional strategy for NHIS.