Southern Africa RCC hosts the Joint Africa CDC/UNAIDS Health Situation Room Implementers Forum and Experience Sharing Meeting

Photo credit: David Phiri – ZNPHI (Group photo)
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Southern Africa RCC in collaboration with the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) played host to the Joint Africa CDC/UNAIDS Health Situation Room Implementers Forum and Experience Sharing Meetingfrom 3 to 4 May 2018 in Lusaka, Zambia. The meeting brought together seven situation room implementing countries; Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The purpose of the meeting was to share best practices among the implementing countries and promote the utility of data and visualization for policy change, programme improvement and public accountability. The meeting also aimed to draft a road map in preparation for the Africa CDC HIS consultative meeting scheduled for September or October 2018.
Dr Chitalu Chilufya Honourable Minister of Health officiated the meetings. “There is need to strengthen health information systems which will enable the easy detection and quick response to effectively respond to disease threats and outbreaks based on science, policy and data-driven interventions and programs,” he said.
Zambia had its presidential launch of the integrated health situation room to capture and collate for analysis and disseminating important information on various diseases and conditions on 5 March 2018, which has created a lot of excitement among stakeholders in public health. Meanwhile, UNAIDS country Director Medhin Tsehaiu said that the situation room created the right platform for capacity building and sharing of experiences and will promote the utility of data and the policy transformation. She added that everyone will have access to the same data at the same time and will it help to mobilise communities to take an active role in their health.
Dr Victor Mukonka the director of ZNPHI commended the government’s commitment to the successful launch and implementation of the Zambia integrated health situation room with the value to merge data from multiple sources to produce new insights and increase the accountability in programmes.
What is a Situation Room?
The situation room is a data visualization platform that provides powerful analytical outputs for programmes. It is primarily used for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria disease intelligence, data collation as well as analysis through the lens of key health indicators to effectively respond to disease outbreaks. Implementing countries use data from logistics management information systems (LMIS) data, District Health Information Systems data (DHIS2), and community level data, where available.
The Africa CDC anticipates to use the Situation Room to connect the 55 African Union Member countries through the national health information systems and foster collaboration in data delivery for timely decision making not only for HIV but for both communicable and non-communicable diseases. In the context of achieving the Agenda 2063, Africa CDC envisions an Africa with healthy and well-nourished citizens free from infection and diseases.
About Africa CDC
Africa CDC is an Africa owned Institution that aims to address priority public health concerns in Africa; primarily through prevention and, where needed, through detection and response. It also serves as a platform for Member States to share knowledge, build capacity, and provide technical assistance to each other.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has been established as a Specialized Technical Agency of the African Union, which was endorsed by the AU Heads of States and Governments (AU HoSG) through Assembly Decision /AU/Dec.554 (XXIV). In pursuant to Article24of its Statute (approved:Assembly Decision /AU/Dec.589 (XXVI)) which states that among its strategic objectives, the Africa CDC shall“In the execution of its strategic work plan, Regional Collaborating Centres (RCC) shall support the Africa CDC. The collaboration and support of the Regional Collaborating Centres is to ultimately bring into reality an “Africa CDC without walls” that supports the continent at the point of need, rather than from a centralized, distant location”.  The Africa CDC has established a RCC in Zambia for the southern Africa region.
The Africa CDC has the legal mandate to support Member States in their capacity to respond to public health emergencies and strengthen health systems and will execute these interventions in collaboration with the Regional Collaborating Centres. Africa CDC as a Specialised Technical Agency of the Africa Union Commission will work closely with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to execute this mandate to ensure that Members States have strengthened capacity and expertise to respond to emergency and matters of public health concern. The RCC will play a fundamental role in ensuring that Africa CDC’s strategies are well implemented in the region through forming Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET).  The network will ensure existing public health assets within regions are harnessed leading improvement in surveillance and control of endemic conditions.