Experience in fostering regional collaboration and Coordination to use data for battling infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

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Geoffrey Arunga
Tome Ca
Patricia Odero
Ahmed Bashir
Serge Manituo Somda
Fatuma Adan
Martin Weiss
Wayne Naidoo
Frank Adjei Benin
Todd Malone
Christopher A. LeGrand
Andrew Yona Kitua


The emergence of COVID-19 highlights globalisation realties, where diseases may emerge from anywhere and rapidly spread globally. Lessons emphasise the necessity for strengthening regional and global collaboration and coordination to allow rapid risk identification, resource mobilisation and joint actions. We report the experience of the Regional Action through Data (RAD) partnership in fostering regional cooperation and collaboration to use data for battling infectious diseases and the effects of COVID-19. The Partnership comprised;BoadReach company, The West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Duke University Global Health Centre and the Jembi Health Systems, South Africa.
Main objective: To address the problem of limited used of data to drive performance in healthcare service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa; by changing how and why data is collected, analysed, and then used to achieve results.
Specific objectives: 1. Regional level: To equip and empower IGAD and WAHO with evidence-based analytics to drive data use for evidence-based policy and program action in public health (regional level). 2. Patient -provider level: To deploy and implement a digital health solution for child-hood vaccination services focused on mobile cross-border populations along the Uganda-Kenya border.
Engagement approaches used included; meetings, workshops, technical working groups, establishing monitoring system and annual implementation revision. Targeted training and capacity building were conducted. All activities were built on existing systems and structures to strengthen ownership and sustainability.
Regional level achievements: 1. Regional health data sharing and protection policy, 2. Strengthened regional health information platform. Patient provider level: Deployment of a cloud based digital health solution to enhance childhood access to vaccination services for cross border populations of Kenya and Uganda, 3. Both regions developed resource mobilisation plans for sustainability.
RAD established the foundation for building trust and strengthening regional collaboration and coordination in health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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