PAHO Plan of action for strengthening information systems for health 2019-2023 (2)

4 October, 2019

Thank you for sharing the PAHO Plan of action for strengthening information systems for health 2019-2023. I don’t want (don’t have the right) to speak on behalf of WHO as a retired person, including PAHO, but WHO health information staff (mainly statisticians and epidemiologists) never accepted the notion that health literature, information or knowledge is part of health information systems. Chris Zielinski may remember the discussions that we had in 1994 while both were at WHO/EMRO with our colleagues in charge of HIS. They were very adamant to accept that a national HIS is inclusive of data, information, knowledge and evidence. There was and still there is great collaboration between those in charge of data and those in charge of information/knowledge in WHO but there it is notl integration. When I was at WHO/HQ data and knowledge departments were in the same cluster and we did work together very closely. It required better understanding of the value of quality health data as a basis for good quality health information, knowledge and evidence. There was clear understanding the loop (cycle) cannot be closed if one component is missing, at least from users point of view. I must give credit also to colleagues who used to work in the WHO classification (ICD) who always had a good understanding and commitment that classification development, terminology management, taxonomy creation, etc. are integral part of knowledge management.

Best regards.

Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, PhD, FIAHSI

Former Director, Knowledge, Ethics and Research Department, WHO/HQ,

President of the eHealth Development Association of Jordan,

Independent Consultant in Knowledge Management and eHealth,

e-Marefa Advisor

P.O. Box 542006

Amman 11937,


Mobile +962 799391604- Tel. +962 (6) 5240273

Skype: Twitter: shorbajin


HIFA profile: Najeeb Al-Shorbaji recently retired from the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked since 1988 in different capacities. He was most recently Director of the Knowledge, Ethics and Research Department at WHO headquarters, Geneva. Previously he was Coordinator for Knowledge Management and Sharing in EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office), Egypt. He is a member of a number of national and international professional societies and associations specialised in information management and health informatics. He has authored over 100 research papers and articles presented in various conferences and published in professional journals. He is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA Working Group on Multilingualism.

Email: shorbajin AT