PAHO Plan of action for strengthening information systems for health 2019-2023 (4)

4 October, 2019

This is to second Najeeb Al-Shorbajis' ovservation that WHO has a hard time seeing data and health literature as being in the same box at all. There are exceptions to this rule, however - the African Health Observatory ( provides a platform for a unified data stream collecting all available regional health statistics, as well as for health literature (along with sections for asnalytical country profiles and networking support).

The disjunction of health statistics (or "health informations" as WHO calls data) and health literature is a product of organizational structure. I well remember the occasion Najeeb refers to - just before we held a meeting on "National Health Information Policies" - when an alarmed statistician burst into my office to ask if we (I was then the director of a division called "Health and Biomedical Information") were planning to take over his Health Information Unit (then a part of another division). At the time I said, No, of course not - but now I think that was a mistake. As the African Health Observatory demonstrates, there are many advantages to providing all the evidence, both quantitative and qualitative, in one place, on one platform.



Chris Zielinski

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT