Partnering to Strengthen Health Information in West Africa

CapacityPlus is teaming up with other organizations and projects to improve health information – including data on the health workforce – in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

On April 11, Professor Kayode Odusote, former director of human resources development of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), represented the project at The Meeting of Technical and Financial Partners Involved in the Field of Health in Accra, Ghana to formalize a Partnership Forum.

Professor Odusote is a champion for CapactiyPlus's iHRIS software in the region. iHRIS is a suite of open source tools for tracking, managing, and planning the health workforce. Last year, he led a pilot of the software in the Northern Region of Ghana and, upon its success, is now helping to implement it throughout Ghana and in Togo and Nigeria. In addition, Odusote has organized several meetings to promote the building and harmonizing of national health information systems in the region.  CapacityPlus participated in the meetings and provided remote support to Odusote and local developers to customize the software for each specific country context.

At the meeting, Professor Odusote made a presentation on progress with iHRIS implementation and how CapacityPlus continues to provide technical assistance for strengthening health workforce information. He highlighted the need for interoperability of health applications and for integrating national health information systems within the 15 ECOWAS member countries.

The Partnership Forum also includes Africa 2010, West African Institute of Post-Graduate Management Studies (CESAG), MEASURE Evaluation, West African Economic and Monetary Union, UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund, University of Oslo, USAID/West Africa, WA-LEAD, and WHO/IST for WA. The partners agreed to provide technical and/or financial support to WAHO, who will coordinate regional strengthening efforts. They also developed an action plan and confirmed commitments. CapacityPlus will collaborate with the University of Oslo and HISP West Africa to integrate iHRIS with DHIS2 (an open source district health information system) and make it available as a package to interested ECOWAS countries. The project also pledged to support the development of Centers of Excellence for health information at the country and regional level.

During the meeting, Liberia expressed interest in deploying iHRIS and Sierra Leone discussed plans to begin implementing the software next year. Also, Professor Odusote met with representatives at CESAG, a partner on CapacityPlus, and agreed to include iHRIS training in its broader health information system training program.