A New Model for Strengthening Health Information Systems: Learning from Experiences During the Ebola Outbreak
The West Africa Health Informatics Team (WAHIT) is a proof of concept initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Global Development Lab to test innovative technical assistance models and build health informatics leadership. WAHIT is a regional team comprised of software developers and informatics experts based in the West African Health Organization (WAHO), with technical support provided by the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus Project. WAHIT’s mission is to provide on-demand technical assistance while building local software engineering capacity to support long-term sustainability of health information systems (HIS) in the region.
From its inception, WAHIT determined that a culture of openness and the ability to adapt would be essential to success. Additionally, the team understood that for the WAHIT model to succeed, collaboration across stakeholders including USAID/Lab, USAID/West Africa, WAHO, HP+ and Ministries of Health was essential. Given that the entire concept of WAHIT and the operating model for providing health informatics technical assistance and capacity building was new, the CLA concepts were inherently embedded in the proof-of concept design in order to show evidence for sustaining the model.
Without a previous precedent for which to compare, WAHIT essentially had a blank canvas that provided the space to learn from previous health information system implementation challenges, collaborate across the partnership, and learn in order to adapt a model that was fit for the context.
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