Use Data and Information for Public Health Action – Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam
One of the public health challenges in low-medium income countries is lack of capacity to process data into information to support evidence-based decision making. This was pointed out by Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam the World Health Organization Country Representative in Uganda while opening the on-going two weeks training on antimicrobial resistance.
“The relevant data for improving public health is left on shelves or is not used lying idle in electronic servers, making countries data rich but information poor”, he said.
“We now have an opportunity through the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) to change the situation to one which is data, information and action rich” he added.
Uganda is the first country in the WHO African Region to host the SORT IT in which participants from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Uganda as well as experienced mentors from 16 countries are interacting and sharing cross-cutting experiences on antimicrobial resistance.
“Your countries and indeed the entire African region are looking upon you for solutions to build sustainable health systems. Apply the skills you will gain during the training beyond antimicrobial resistance because drug resistance is caused by many pathogens” Dr Yonas said.
Dr Zachariah Rony the lead facilitator and the Global SORT IT coordinator at WHO headquarters, Tropical Disease Research programme (TDR ) acknowledged the selection and vetting process of participants noting that they will contribute enormously to strengthening national capacities to implement National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance
SORT IT is a global training partnership coordinated by TDR – the joint UNICEF, UNDP, WORLD BANK and WHO special programme for research and training in tropical diseases. TDR has over 40 years of training and research experience on tropical diseases.
The SORT IT training is output-oriented and has been successfully implemented in 91 countries. It targets front-line health workers without research experience. The training has successfully leveraged partnerships for research and capacity building. At least 70% of studies undertaken under SORT IT have had a positive public health impact in communities.