Ministry inaugurates health atlas, guideline
The National Data Management Centre for Health (NDMC) at Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and the Policy, Plan, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) at the Ministry of Health, jointly, organized a conference to launch a national health atlas and data access and sharing guideline on the 14th of March, 2022. The health atlas, produced by NDMC, appears to be the first of its kind in the health system of Ethiopia. Given the name ‘National and Regional Health Atlas’, the document is produced from the national and subnational burden of disease analysis in Ethiopia. Under the Ministry of Health’s leadership, the National Data Management Centre for Health at EPHI and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington have collaboratively been working to produce a comparable national and subnational burden of disease results from 1990 to 2019. Granted that, the atlas presents the burden of diseases between the years 1990-2019, it is highlighted that the Ministry of Health, as well as, the regional health bureaus of Ethiopia will benefit in making informed decisions. Through the entire route of preparing the document, the IHME offered technical support, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided financial support.
The second document presented was a guideline on health data access and sharing, which was prepared by NDMC and PPMED and experts from different institutions have participated in the preparation of the document. Again, it has been stressed that this guideline is the first document prepared to govern issues related to health data access and sharing in Ethiopia.
Overall, keynote speeches, presentations, and discussions were the major activities at the event. In that regard, Dr. Ruth Nigatu, a delegate of the minster and chief of staff at the minister’s office, was the guest of honor and keynote speaker. Apart from that, the delegate of EPHI’s Deputy Director, Dr. Assefa Deressa also made a speech in the presence of other higher officials of the ministry, as well as, the institute. Moreover, Professor. Christopher Murray, the director for IHME, also made a keynote speech virtually.
The presentations of the conference were made by two experts. Dr. Awoke Misganaw (advisor of NDMC and Ass. Professor at the University of Washington) presented the key findings of the national and regional burden of disease in Ethiopia, and Dr. Kedir Seid (from the ministry’s Plan, Policy Monitoring and Evaluation directorate), on his part, presented major issues on how to implement the guideline on national health data access and sharing. All in all, researchers, representatives of regional health bureaus, representatives of different institutions, local GBD collaborators, partners, and different individuals have attended the conference both physically and virtually.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health promulgates that the days between March 14 and March 18, 2022, shall be commemorated as Health Data Week. And in the future, every year within the month of March, a week will be dedicated to commemorate Health Data Week at a national level. Taking the catchphrase ‘Enhanced Partnership and Collaboration to Strengthen the Health Information System’, the week is expected to be a milestone in promoting data use for informed decisions through collaborative works.