Celebrating Achievements of the AIDSFree Project and APC’s HMIS Scale-up Project in Ethiopia

June 11, 2019
The event included the panel discussion “Lessons Learned, Looking Forward, and an Open Q&A on Data Visibility, Quality, Use, & Governance.” Photo: AIDSFree/Ethiopia.
The event included the panel discussion “Lessons Learned, Looking Forward, and an Open Q&A on Data Visibility, Quality, Use, & Governance.” Photo: AIDSFree/Ethiopia.

On June 11, 2019, at the Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the USAID-funded AIDSFree Project and the Advancing Partners & Communities’ (APC) Health Management Information System (HMIS) Scale-Up Project highlighted their achievements in supporting digitization of Ethiopia’s health sector, which supports the Federal Ministry of Health’s (FMOH) Information Revolution agenda. Over the past several years, both projects have worked closely with the Ministry to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain, digitize the regulatory system, and scale up the HMIS to improve the overall quality of health care for Ethiopians across the country.

In close collaboration with the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Agency (EPSA) and the Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration (EFDA), USAID support has helped increase the availability of health commodities and medicines for HIV, reproductive health, and maternal and child health. The U.S.-Ethiopia partnership led to the launch of the electronic Regulatory Information System (eRIS), which helps the EFDA streamline import, registration and licensing approval, as well as the submission and review process for pharmaceutical, food, and equipment importers. The eRIS will also help EFDA track medicines from international and local suppliers through EPSA’s warehouses to each health clinic.

The AIDSFree project has developed several technology solutions to make data about the status and consumption rates of medical commodities more readily available to Ethiopia’s health professionals, resulting in more accurate forecasting and distribution decisions for medical supplies across the country. APC’s HMIS Scale-Up Project began in 2014 to help the Ministry of Health scale up the HMIS and other electronic health information systems. Both projects were implemented by John Snow, Inc. (JSI).

The event, marking the conclusion of both projects, highlighted improvements in Ethiopia’s health information system. Implementing partners and other stakeholders presented the projects’ contributions through a market place and a panel discussion on data visibility, quality, use, and governance. Presenters at the event included the FMOH Director General, Dr. Yekoye Worku; USAID’s Health Office Director in Ethiopia, Rachel Cintron; John Snow, Inc.’s (JSI) Country Representative; as well as senior officials from the FMOH, EFDA, and EPSA; and representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Yekoye Worku thanked USAID for its investment in the country’s health system and reiterated the Ethiopian government’s commitment to modernizing the health system. He noted that, “The digital technologies that we have adopted through these projects have helped to demonstrate improvements over traditional way of accessing, delivering and using health related data.”

APC’s HMIS project helped the ministry scale up both its paper-based and digital routine health information system nationwide. Ethiopia’s health system has now begun to collect information digitally at the community level and even at the family level. This information can immediately be shared with all levels of the health system.

JSI has been working with the Ministry of Health for the past 25 years to improve the health of Ethiopians by expanding access to family planning, improving immunization services, and strengthening the healthcare supply chain.