Vital Wave worked closely with the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC), an institution of the East African Community (EAC) to develop a costed strategic plan for the implementation of the Digital REACH Initiative. Digital REACH is an Initiative to develop and implement regional health programmes, desired by each of the EAC Partner States (the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda).
The Strategic Plan details the plan and specific activities required for coordinating regional action to improve health outcomes across the EAC through the creation of a robust enabling environment for digital health that includes better policy, harmonization of standards and improved interoperability, development of core shared infrastructure and services and applications, and the building of a strong health and health IT professional workforce across the EAC region. The Initiative also includes strategic regional and cross-border implementations that benefit the region including telemedicine networks, the establishment of a regional health data cloud and associated architecture and support team, and an early detection surveillance system that will work to identify potential disease outbreaks in the region.
The Strategic Plan was developed through a region-led process, led by the EAHRC and facilitated by Vital Wave. To develop the plan Vital Wave and the EAHRC conducted a series of in-depth stakeholder consultations in each of the EAC countries and with digital health experts and donors, as well as a week-long Vital Wave-facilitated workshop in Tanzania where representatives from each of the EAC Partner State reviewed and contributed to the specific Strategic Plan objectives and activities. The final costed strategic plan was approved by the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health in November 2018 and will be launched in 2019. For more information, see below.