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BID Learning Network expands services, mentoring countries across sub-Saharan Africa in digital and data solutions

By Chilunga Puta, Director of the BID Learning Network, PATH

Feb 19, 2020

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Graphic: PATH. The BID Learning Network has expanded its services to include targeted mentorship for countries.

The BID Learning Network (BLN) brings together digital health experts and immunization program managers from across sub-Saharan Africa to exchange experiences in implementing electronic immunization registries (EIRs), data management systems, change management approaches, and data use policies and practices.  As countries across the world embrace digital solutions, PATH is drawing on its experience in designing, introducing, and scaling digital and data tools in Tanzania and Zambia to help countries address routine data challenges focusing at primary health care level.

Since 2014, the BLN has hosted learning exchanges, system demonstrations, and rich dialogues about the challenges and lessons of introducing digital and data solutions. It’s created hubs for growth and experimentation among professionals and country leaders. Now, the BLN is evolving its approach to better address the range of inquiries and needs from countries interested in adopting digital solutions for their own health systems. This includes a spectrum of short- and long-term support, meeting countries wherever they are in their journey to digital transformation.

The BLN will continue functioning as an honest broker to countries and ministries of health, offering impartial, technology-agnostic guidance on the most appropriate digital and data solutions for each country’s context. It provides critical neutrality to country governments that must navigate differing priorities from donors, implementing partners, and stakeholders within the health system.

The new model offers a set of holistic services that leverage our deep expertise, and those of our partners on the design, implementation, and scale-up of digital and data solutions for routine health data. The BLN will also provide targeted mentorship to government representatives based on their country’s digital maturity, needs, and priorities. Services range from support on specific routine data challenges, such as selecting appropriate digital solutions, to building capacity on how best to design change management strategies. Countries can participate in webinars and one-on-one capacity building and experience sharing sessions on a range of technical topic areas. They can also connect with regional and global partners and experts, and access a library of tools and resources on various experiences in digital and data solutions.

“We have long shared our expertise with other countries interested in learning from the BID Initiative’s experience in Tanzania and Zambia. It’s a core tenet of our efforts,” explained Hassan Mtenga, Country Lead for the BLN’s regional programming. “We’re a critical bridge for countries offering peer connection to other digital experts and leaders, a regional hub for professional development, and a spectrum of services to ensure countries have the support, tools, and capacity needed to develop strong digital health systems.”

Since its inception in 2014, the network has been steadily growing in both its scope and membership. Today the BLN benefits from the membership of more than 20 African countries, both Anglophone and Francophone. It covers topics beyond immunization programming, including countries’ primary health care data management needs. Rwanda, Uganda, The Gambia and Kenya are among the primary countries to receive targeted mentorship support from the network under the new model.

To learn more about the BLN and the services it provides other mentor countries, visit bidinitiative.org.

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