25th October 2021 (Nairobi, Kenya): Dr. Ahmed Bashir, RAD project lead made welcoming remarks and introduced the Head of Mission Kenya Dr. Fatuma Adan who on behalf of the Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and Fathia Alwan the Director of Health and social department opened the 4th Steering committee on Cross Border Data Sharing Policy Dr. Fatuma highlighted the intended objectives of the meeting.
Dr. Mary Wangai, Head of Regional Cooperation, Kenya Ministry of Health Officially Welcomed the Member states and stakeholders on behalf of Kenya. The meeting was attended by representatives of IGAD Member States Ministries of Health (from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda), Broad Reach, Duke University Jembi, GIZ and IGAD Secretariat. In her speech she highlighted that a working policy document need to be considered as one of the great achievement, for the region as this document will facilitate country sharing information and data for cross-border health that will lead to improved health outcomes and strengthened disease surveillance. She underlined that IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy document requires proactive measures by the member states so as to support this Initiative which is a first in Africa.
Dr. Abda Hakim, Director of policy and planning. Ministry of Health Sudan chaired the meeting. She stressed that policy document provides guidance related to health data sharing and protection across borders in IGAD member states.
During the discussion at the Steering Committee, Members emphasized the need to have IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy Development completed and as well as endorsing the recommendations stated in the declaration of the Expert/Technical working group Meeting in Mombasa on the 23rd to 25th June, 2021.
The steering committee approved the following recommendations, that will be presented to the council of Ministers at the Health Ministers Meeting in December 2021 for endorsement:
- Endorse the Policy Document through upcoming Health Ministerial meeting in December, 2021;
- Advocate for health data sharing & protection in Member States and with stakeholders on the urgency of a regional data sharing and protection policy in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic;
- Implement the policy document by Member States through the implementation Roadmap annexed to the policy document,
- Adopt online Training Module on health data sharing & Protection.
Acknowledgement: RAD expresses appreciation to the USAID for funding this activity and project.