The First DHIS2 National Forum in Ethiopia Showcases Success Stories, and Sets Path for the Future

The first National DHIS2 Forum, with the theme “DHIS2 Localization and Sustainability: Understanding Current State and Future Needs”, was held on May 16, 2023, at the Elilly International Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This event was coordinated by HABTech Solutions alongside the Ministry of Health (MOH) Ethiopia. HABTech, MOH, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded this forum and collaborated in bringing together participants from stakeholders, experts, and DHIS2 implementers across Ethiopia. Their participation in the Forum demonstrated their dedication to improving the country’s health information systems and advancing the use of DHIS2 to achieve better health outcomes for all. 

The forum was hosted by Mr. Tigabu Dagne, HABTech Solutions chairperson. Dr.Adane Letta, BMGF Project Director and GM of HABTech Solutions, provided welcoming remarks. Mr. Gemechis Melkamu, CEO of Digital Health in MOH, delivered the opening speech.

Main focus areas of the Forum

Success Stories and Current State of DHIS2 in Ethiopia

The Forum allowed attendees to showcase success stories and share their experiences with the deployment and use of DHIS2 in Ethiopia. Participants emphasized the substantial accomplishments thus far, such as better data gathering, processing, and reporting capabilities. Several success stories demonstrated how DHIS2 improved disease surveillance, maternity and child health care, immunization programs, and budget allocation. The current DHIS2 implementation issues such as lack of DHI2 governance, workforce, and infrastructure were also re-iterated  by the participants. 

The implementation and usability of DHIS2 in Ethiopia were also thoroughly discussed during the Forum. The participants engaged in insightful discussions on lessons learned and best practices, like inputting metadata accurately as well as sharing valuable experiences from different regions and healthcare settings. By identifying challenges and exploring effective solutions, attendees aimed to enhance the user experience, streamline workflows, and foster a culture of data-driven decision-making in the  Ethiopian health sector.

DHS2 Maturity Assessment: Key Findings

The presentation of the DHIS2 maturity assessment findings was an important component of the Forum. Participants got significant insights into the current condition of DHIS2 in Ethiopia through the examination of the platform’s maturity, strengths, and needs for growth. These findings will lay the groundwork for future improvements in DHIS2, such as improved leadership and governance, an increase in the number of skilled workforces, enabling interoperability with other digital health systems, and strengthening data quality assurance methods, and advanced analytics for better decision-making.

DHIS2 Localization: Enhancing Data Accuracy and Relevance

One of the key focus areas of the Forum was DHIS2 localization. In recognizing the importance of context-specific health data, participants discussed strategies to tailor the platform to meet the unique needs of Ethiopia. By capacitating the DHIS2 local team, DHIS2 can better support decision-making processes and facilitate evidence-based healthcare interventions at both the local and national levels.

Sustaining DHIS2- Building for the Future

To ensure the longevity and continued success of DHIS2 in Ethiopia, the Forum explored strategies for sustainability, in the panel discussion session. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Amanuel Biru (JSI-DUP), and the panelists were: Dr. Abyot Asalefew- HISP Oslo & HABTech Solutions; Gemechis Melkamu-Digital Health CEO, MOH; Mesoud Mohammed-Strategic Affairs, MOH; Dr. Binyam Tilahun-University of Gondar & HABTech Solutions. The panelists discussed the importance of local capacity building to strengthen institutional frameworks and promote multi-sectoral collaboration to sustain and expand the use of DHIS2. By drawing from lessons learned, stakeholders are determined to chart a clear path forward for the long-term sustainability of DHIS2 in Ethiopia.

In general, the First DHIS2 National Forum concluded with a shared commitment to harness the potential of DHIS2 in Ethiopia. The valuable discussions, insights, and recommendations from the Forum will undoubtedly sustain the sustainable implementation of DHIS2 in Ethiopia.