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World Health Organization supports efforts to restore Health Information Systems in Northern Ethiopia

In the wake of the internal armed conflict that ravaged the regions of Northern Ethiopia from November 2020 to November 2022, health information infrastructure suffered severe disruptions, hampering the timely reporting of critical health data. Notably, reporting of notifiable diseases plummeted to as low as 15% during the peak of the conflict, while regular monthly reporting for the District Health Information System (DHIS) came to a standstill due to widespread information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure damage.

Recognizing the urgent need to address this setback, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Tigray Region Health Bureau, embarked on a concerted effort to restore and strengthen health information collation, management, and dissemination. Central to this endeavor was the prioritization of restoring ICT equipment as a critical step towards rebuilding and fortifying the health information system, thereby facilitating regular DHIS reporting and enhancing overall health service delivery.

The primary objective of the intervention was to equip 76 accessible Wereda (districts) health offices and 44 selected health facilities in the region with essential ICT equipment, including desktop computers, universal power storage units, extra-storage hard drives, and internet connectivity services. The overarching aim was to revitalize the health information system and reinstate regular DHIS reporting, thereby facilitating informed decision-making and resource allocation in the healthcare sector.

"We recognize that the restoration of health information systems is not just about rebuilding infrastructure, but about rebuilding trust, resilience, and hope for the future of healthcare delivery in Northern Ethiopia." Dr Boniface Isindu, Ambani the Incident Manger for Northern Ethiopia Response said.

Through generous support from donors, including the European Commission Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), WHO spearheaded several interventions to achieve the stated 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, underscoring the commitment to ensuring seamless data exchange and communication. Last-mile delivery of ICT equipment to beneficiary districts and health facilities, ensuring equitable access and effective utilization of resources across the region.

Through these concerted efforts, WHO, in partnership with key stakeholders, is paving the way for the restoration of health information systems in Northern Ethiopia. By bolstering technical infrastructure and facilitating data-driven decision-making, the initiative is poised to contribute significantly to the overall resilience and development of the region's healthcare system, ultimately improving health outcomes for communities affected by conflict.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) - Ethiopia.
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