University of Botswana eHealth Research Unit under the Department of Computer Science in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, hosted a virtual Digital Health symposium from August 11-13, 2021.
The key outcome of the symposium is to fast track implementation of the recently launched National eHealth Strategy (2020-2021). To achieve this, priority should be given to health human resource capacity building in digital health through an eHealth course offering (pre and in-service training) as well as development of a national telemedicine policy to inform telemedicine (synchronous and asynchronous) strategic direction.
Other priority areas include development and implementation of a national Health Information Exchange (HIE) aligned to the OpenHIE framework besides adaption of digital health global goods applications already endorsed by WHO and interoperable with existing eHealth systems such as DHIS2 platform.
Alignment of security, privacy and confidentiality concerns across all eHealth systems with the existing Data Protection Act (2018) and any legislation addressing digital data security, privacy and confidentiality concerns, will be another key area.
The symposium which attracted local, regional and international eHealth experts was aligned to the World Health Organisation-International Telecommunication Union (WHO-ITU) Digital Health programme and the recently launched Botswana’s eHealth strategy (2020-2024).
Participants of the symposium comprised mainly Ministry of Health and Wellness leadership. These were Deputy Permanent Secretary - Health Services Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Improvement; Director - Health Policy and Research; Deputy Director - Health Services Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Improvement as well as Health Informatics Unit Coordinator and Information Technology Managers across various facilities and public training institutions.
The symposium further attracted participants from Centre for Disease Control Botswana and the private sector including Legal Practitioners, Sedilega Private Hospital, Bomaid, Boitekanelo College, Botho University, Alive Botswana, Doctor’s eConsult and VisualDx.