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Country Perspectives from the BLN Meeting

By Mali Kambandu, Communications Officer, BID Initiative

Jun 8, 2016

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The BLN Design meeting closed after a rich and engaging week where countries shared their expertise on electronic health registries. Participants from 14 countries, all with registries or electronic systems in different stages, came together with the intent to improve the electronic registries that are in use or will be used in their countries. Representatives from their national health services shared a few meeting takeaways that they will bring back to their countries to inform future planning and implementation:

Dr Carlos Funzamo, Researcher, Mozambique Ministry of Health

Dr Funzamo -- Mozambique“I feel strongly about how to start the electronic immunization registry in my country. We’ve done a study on this system, but now I see that we have to get the decision makers to see how important this is and what the country has to gain by having that system. I’ve learned how to approach the government, and the network I’ve built here with all the other country experiences will help when getting the government on board.”


Mbye Njie, The Gambia Ministry of Health

Mbye Njie -- Gambia“We have developed the eTracker system and it’s in a preparatory phase, but it’s not at the national level yet. We need to take it the Ministry of Health level and through the BLN, I am prepared with resources, such as documents and policies on how other countries have initiated this system. Seeing what Ghana is doing in the field will help further convince my country so I am glad for that experience.”


Dr Ofusu, Ghana Health Service

Dr Ofusu, Ghana“At the BLN, the participants went out into the surrounding areas of Accra to see what our health facilities are doing with the immunisation eTracker that we implemented three years ago. This was such a good experience for us. The participants, who are experts in their countries, came back with objective feedback on how the system is working, what areas of improvement there are and how that can be done. It’s very good for us to hear this [feedback] and to know that the improvements we’d like to make can be validated by this group here.”


Dennis Mwagomba, EPI Data Manager, Malawi Ministry of Health

Dennis Mwagomba -- Malawi“In Malawi, we don’t have an electronic immunisation registry, so for me, being at this meeting has been very informative. I will go back and take this knowledge to our Technical Working Group so we can set up our registry. First, I’ve learned that our data quality will need to be improved and cleaned. I learned about the small grants that BLN awards. If we as a country got a small grant to begin our data quality assessment and evaluate which facilities perform better than others and why, this will be one good step to take to establish our immunisation registry.”


Serge Laurent Hountonnagnon, Statistician and Immunisation Officer, Ministry of Health, Benin

Serge Laurent Hountonnagnon“I’ve collected the various lessons learned from the different countries to see what can be adapted to my country. Specifically, ensuring that the institutional framework for electronic registries is in place, what it must consist of, and to ensure that there is one body who can oversee the eHealth activities are well-managed in the country. Many countries do not have the correct legal framework and a strategic plan for the activities we must do. But from some of these countries here at the BLN, I have learned what to consider or include in developing the legal framework and making sure it works in the government.”

The BLN Design meeting is based on a network of peer learning, but this network is only successful with participation and contributions from all who attend our meetings and who have experiences from their countries to share with others working in eHealth. We encourage further exchange and dialogue among the network, but also engagement with national governments to continue improving health systems in all countries. Stay tuned for more BLN events to come including monthly webinars and join the ongoing conversation in our Google Group.

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