Plan of Action to strengthen IS4H approved by the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

Washington D.C., 10 October 2019 - The Plan of Action for Strengthening Information Systems for Health 2019-2023 was approved today by the 57th Directing Council of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau / Pan American Health Organization. The plan was supported by all countries of the Region, and 18 country representatives to the meeting voiced their support: Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Suriname, Ecuador, Cuba, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, Guyana, UK/British Virgin Islands, Canada, Honduras, Jamaica, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico.

Meeting at PAHO headquarters

The Plan of Action contains strategic lines of action and tools to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Besides approving the Plan of Action, the Directing Council also urged the countries of the Region to ensure that all initiatives outlined in the plan are developed and supported not only at the national level but also at the subregional level as well, so they can provide the greatest benefits to the population of their countries.

The plan approved today contains strategic lines of action and tools to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its purpose, moreover, is to help health institutions in the Member States to advance toward meeting the targets of the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018-2030 (3), especially targets 6.1 and 6.2, in alignment with other government initiatives such as open government and e-government.

The goal of this plan of action is to strengthen the activities of Member States aimed at upgrading health systems through the use of interconnected and interoperable information systems. It will also help the Member States introduce information and communication technologies and improve information exchange and the management of structured and unstructured data 3 for the benefit of public health.

While the countries of the Region of the Americas have made substantial progress in improving information systems for health (IS4H), they still face major challenges in ensuring reliable, secure, and timely data in the necessary format to inform decision-making, policy development, monitoring and evaluation, and the production of intelligence for action in health. At the same time, emerging technologies and the potential offered by the information society, such as big data, may offer benefits to public health never before seen in human history.