Tracking and management of COVID-19 and other epidemic-prone diseases in West and East Africa has been made easier.
This follows the upcoming launch of the first ever daily public COVID dashboard for countries in the Horn of Africa next month.
The cross-border data collaboration project involving 23 African countries above the Equator is a USAID-funded Regional Action Through Data (RAD) programme, which is tackling COVID-19 in West and East Africa through two initiatives.
The initiatives involve the sharing of real-time regional disease data online and tech-enabled cross-border immunisations.
These initiatives are enabling governments to better collaborate to protect their roving pastoral populations from epidemics and to overcome the data issues of the Ebola era.
According to a press statement that was sent to newsrooms early this week, the tracker shows monthly graphs currently , but soon new daily regional information will be available as well. The dashboard allows its eight member countries in the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and African Great Lakes regions to share epidemic data on a daily basis for the first time.
The game-changing Covid dashboards have been motivated by the fact that Ebola became a deadly disaster six years ago due to inadequate and irregular, at best weekly, information sharing among affected countries.
But this scenario will soon be a thing of the past, with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) trade bloc in Central and East Africa getting its own daily online disease outbreak dashboard before the end of June 2021.
The IGAD dashboard follows on RAD’s recently unveiled “disease outbreak dashboard” for the West African Health Organization (WAHO).
The WAHO COVID-19 Dashboard is freely available on the WAHO website and offers information, maps and tables to reflect how COVID is manifesting daily in the region.
It will soon also track other epidemic-prone diseases. WAHO is the health arm of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and serves 15 countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Mali.
The Global Health Innovation Center and Innovations in Healthcare at Duke University have partnered with Broadreach, the InterGovernmental Authority Development (IGAD), the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), Jembi Health Systems, and with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to address the problem of the limited use of data to drive performance in healthcare service delivery to improve health and development outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the project’s goals is to address the problem of the limited use of data to drive decision making through the introduction of disruptive technologies
It also seeks to equip and empower key stakeholders to make data-based healthcare delivery decisions, through aligned and harmonized data collection systems that will be used by regional and national partners for evidence-based decision-making
Another main goal is to improve health outcomes for all individuals, implementing a cloud-based personal electronic health record system to integrate cross-border data collection and ensure continuity of care regardless of geographic location.
The partners have promised to focus on private sector engagement and how to further the project’s goals through this interaction and engagement.
They will also provide and work towards: evidence learning, policy and structural framework development, capacity-building with other partners, healthcare solution scaling and adaptation, and commercialization and private sector engagement.