DRC —The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have pledged to increase collaboration in the use of data analytics in the battle against illnesses in Africa.
This commitment was made by a BMGF delegation led by Jennifer Gardy, Deputy Director, Surveillance, Data, and Epidemiology, during a technical visit to the WHO Africa headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo, from January 8 to 10, 2024.
The group used the tour to learn more about how the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s Precision Public Health Metrics (PPHM) program is improving health and disease modeling in Africa.
The PPHM unit was established as a cross-functional team under WHO Africa’s Universal Health Coverage for Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases (UCN) Cluster.
PPHM provides data analytics to all program areas in order to control, eradicate, and eliminate diseases on the African continent.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with BMFG and other partners in this initiative to harness data in the battle against diseases.
He went on to mention that Africa is positioned to apply analytics to generate evidence and funding for public health interventions through precision public health.
Discussions throughout the engagement focused on the connection of the UCN cluster’s vision and strategy with the BMGF and how this might inform the work of the PPHM programme as it strives to support and enhance the use of data analytics at both the regional and country levels.
Furthermore, the WHO Africa Regional Office and BMFG reaffirmed their intention to continue working closely, through the UCN Cluster and PPHM, to support the various areas indicated for collaboration, with an initial focus on malaria eradication in the region.
Jennifer Gardy emphasized the importance of using data for public health decision-making, stating that she looks forward to working with the WHO Africa Regional Office to support countries in the region in their efforts to battle disease using data-informed solutions.
PPH was formed as a special strategic initiative to enhance the Precision Public Health for Africa (PPH4Africa) strategic effort, advancing the deployment of analytics to strengthen and respond to health systems.
This vision is consistent with BMFG’s ongoing efforts to develop epidemiological modeling capabilities for public health decision-making in Sub-Saharan Africa.