PAHO embarks on mission with Barbados to strengthen its Information Systems and Digital Transformation of the Health Sector

PAHO tours hospital in Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados, 20 October 2022 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to help strengthen its Health Information System and to digitally transform the health sector.

This mission is supported by Prime Minister of Barbados, The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, who is a very strong advocate for digitalization of the health sector to deliver better health and quality of life, and the Minister of Health, Honourable Ian Gooding-Edghill.

In partnership with the PAHO/WHO Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, a four-member team of experts from PAHO/WHO Washington D.C. led by Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health, Dr. Sebastian Garcia-Saiso, met with key stakeholders and made site visits to some health institutions.

A wide cross section of key personnel was represented at the meetings, including the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth George,  Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Wellness Ms. Wendy Odle and Director Planning and Research Unit Mrs. Rasheemah Cheltenham-Niles. Representatives of the following entities were also present - Information Systems, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Polyclinics, Epidemiology, HIV Unit, Vector Control, the Ministry of Industry, Innovation Science and Technology, the Registration Department, Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, University of the West Indies, and the Barbados Statistical Services.

The composition of the group included decision-makers, policymakers, staff involved in data production (data collection, data integration, processing, analyzing, dissemination) and data users.

During the meetings, policies and procedures were reviewed, and site visits allowed for direct observation of information platform use, data collection and interviews with front line administrative and clinical staff.

Site visits were made to the Best dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ladymeade Reference Unit and the Sir Winston Scott polyclinic.

PAHO’s approach to provide technical cooperation in the strengthening of National Information Systems for Health (IS4H) is a country-led process that will help move towards a sustainable implementation of the digital transformation of the health sector.

The IS4H assessment focuses on key components of the national information system for health and their eGovernment initiatives, including governance, strategies and plans, legislation and policy, financial sustainability, human resources, telehealth, data management and quality processes, data analysis capabilities, business and clinical workflow and processes, project and change management, and information technology platforms and infrastructure.

After this initial assessment of the health sector, PAHO will produce a detailed technical report of the main findings and next steps which will be presented to the national team.

PAHO team with senior officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness. From left Ms. Wendy Odle - Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Mrs. Rasheemah Cheltenham-Niles - Director Planning and Research Unit, Dr. The Most Hon. Kenneth George - Chief Medical Officer, Hon. Ian Gooding-Edghill - Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Amalia Del Riego - PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, Dr. Sebastian Garcia- Saiso - Director Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health, Mr. Marcelo D’Agostino - Senior Advisor, Information Systems for Health, Dr. Vishwanath Partapsingh - Advisor Health Systems and Services and Myrna Marti - PAHO Consultant.