The World Health Organisation is in favour of restoring Northern Ethiopia’s health information systems

Apr 18, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

Following the internal armed conflict that devastated Northern Ethiopia between November 2020 and November 2022, the region’s health information infrastructure suffered severe disruptions, leading to significant challenges in reporting critical health data. Notably, the reporting of notifiable diseases plummeted to as low as 15% at the conflict’s peak, and regular monthly reporting for the District Health Information System (DHIS) came to a halt due to widespread damage to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

In response to this pressing need, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Tigray Region Health Bureau, launched a comprehensive effort to restore and strengthen health information collation, management, and dissemination. A key focus was placed on prioritising the restoration of ICT equipment as a crucial step toward rebuilding and fortifying the health information system, facilitating regular DHIS reporting, and enhancing overall health service delivery.

The main goal of this intervention was to provide essential ICT equipment to 76 accessible Wereda (districts) health offices and 44 selected health facilities in the region. This equipment included desktop computers, universal power storage units, extra-storage hard drives, and internet connectivity services. The overarching objective was to rejuvenate the health information system, reinstate regular DHIS reporting, and enable informed decision-making and resource allocation in the healthcare sector.

Dr. Boniface Isindu Ambani, the Incident Manager for Northern Ethiopia Response, emphasised that rebuilding health information systems was not just about infrastructure but about restoring trust, resilience, and hope for the future of healthcare delivery in Northern Ethiopia.

With generous support from donors, including the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), WHO-led various interventions to achieve these objectives:

Procurement and delivery of 120 desktop computers and accessories to support the Tigray Health Bureau in restoring and strengthening health information systems at selected health facilities and district health offices.
Installation of necessary software and initiation of internet connectivity services to enhance health information collation, storage, and dissemination. Efforts to establish internet connectivity are ongoing, highlighting the commitment to seamless data exchange and communication.

ICT equipment is delivered last mile to beneficiary districts and health facilities, ensuring equitable access and effective resource utilisation across the region.

Through these collaborative efforts, WHO, alongside key stakeholders, is working towards restoring health information systems in Northern Ethiopia. By enhancing technical infrastructure and promoting data-driven decision-making, the initiative aims to significantly contribute to the resilience and development of the region’s healthcare system, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes for conflict-affected communities.

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