West African Health Informatics Team

The West Africa Health Informatics Team (WAHIT), based at the West African Health Organization (WAHO), is a team of software developers and health information system experts that provide on-demand technical assistance to countries while building local capacity. Originally founded in the wake of the Ebola outbreak as a proof of concept to test innovative models for building local health informatics capacity, WAHIT evolved into a foundational component of WAHO’s leadership in health in the region.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The West Africa Health Informatics Team (WAHIT), based at the West African Health Organization (WAHO), is a team of software developers and health information system (HIS) experts that provide on-demand technical assistance to countries while building local capacity in the region. Originally founded in the wake of the Ebola outbreak as a proof of concept to test innovative models for building local health informatics capacity, WAHIT evolved into a foundational component of WAHO’s leadership in health information strengthening, building capacity at national and regional levels.

After many months of research, WAHIT officially commenced as a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded and managed activity in 2016. Over the following three years, WAHIT trained over 250 HIS experts in West Africa through 26 country missions. Activities ranged from training on server management at the country level, consolidation of weekly Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) data at the regional level, and business process improvement at WAHO.

By the end of 2019, WAHO committed to fully incorporating the team into its permanent organizational structure, however the institutionalization process was not easy and is still not complete. This report shares the journey of establishing WAHIT, including the many proposed models, adaptations, negotiations, and changes along the way.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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