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Kumar Invited to Join Africa CDC Task Force on Health Information Exchange Systems

February 11, 2020
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Headshot of Manish Kumar smiling

Manish Kumar

Manish Kumar, adjunct assistant professor in the Public Health Leadership Program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been invited to join the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Health Information Exchange Task Force. Participants in this task force will be subject matter experts working in Africa and internationally on the collection, analysis and exchange of health data and information.

On Jan. 31, 2017, the African Union (AU) established the Africa CDC with a mission to “strengthen Africa’s public health institutions’ capacities, capabilities and partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks based on science, policy, and data-driven interventions and programs.” Africa CDC’s authorizing statute defines one of its functions as “harmonizing disease control and prevention policies and the surveillance systems in member states.” Africa CDC’s strategic plan focuses on surveillance and disease intelligence, emergency preparedness and response, laboratory systems and networks, health information systems, and public health research and institutes.

With the current growth of health information system deployment in Africa and, in particular, systems relying on mobile or wireless networks, the AU has a strong need to develop health information exchange standards that can be adopted and used by the different member states. As a technical organization mandated by the AU to give technical advice and support to AU member states, Africa CDC seeks to establish the Health Information Exchange Task Force to provide expertise and guidance in the development of policies and standards for effective implementation of interoperable health information systems across African countries. These policies and standards must include support for data and information exchange between the human and animal health sectors, as well as other sectors.

The task force will give high-level strategic advice and support to Africa CDC for the coming years. In the first year, the task force will draft policy framework and standards on electronic health information exchange for review and approval by the Africa CDC and member states.

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