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Health Information Technology and Telecommunication Support in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Presented by: Dr. Najeeb Al-Shorbaji. Introduction. Information has a role.

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Information Technology and Telecommunication Support

in the

Eastern Mediterranean Region

Presented by:

Dr. Najeeb Al-Shorbaji

information has a role
Information has a role

An essential prerequisite for the attainment of the goal of health for all is the continued free flow of information on health and biomedical topics within WHO, between the Organization and Member States, and among Member States.

introduction purpose
Introduction: purpose

Where and how information and communication technology can contribute to the improvement of health care

function of information management
Function of information management
  • Obtain,
  • Manage and
  • Use information to improve the health care and medical services performance, governance, and management and support process
situation analysis
Situation analysis
  • A questionnaire was sent to 20 countries in the Region;
  • 18 countries replied (90%);
  • Three sets of questions were provided to assess informatics and telematics facilities and services;
  • Two groups of countries emerged:

Group 1: IT infrastructure is available

  • Ministry of Health has a Department for Informatics and telematics;
  • There is a Local Area Network;
  • A special annual budget for health informatics and telematics is allocated;
A planning/evaluation study of Ministry IT needs was conducted;
  • The Ministry has a functional internetweb site;
group 2 it infrastructure and policies are available
Group 2: IT infrastructure and policies are available
  • There is functional national health information system;
  • There is national science and technology information policy;
  • There is national master plan for health informatics and telematics;
  • There is specially designed computer centre at the Ministry
  • There is intranet site at the Ministry.
ranking of applications most available in countries the region
Ranking of applications most available in countries the Region
  • Health statistics, epidemiological surveillance and trend analysis databases;
  • Management information systems;
  • Information technology training;
  • Hospital management systems;
ranking of applications least available in countries of the region
Ranking of applications least available in countries of the Region
  • Full-text database(s) for laws, legislation, regulations, etc.
  • Computer-based directory of health and medical education (Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, etc.)
  • E-Health, telemedicine, tele-radiology, tele-pathology services
  • Lack of awareness;
  • Lack of vision;
  • Lack of affordability;
  • Limited medical informatics expertise;
  • Weakness of the information infrastructure;
  • Absence of legal, legislative, ethical and constitutional framework.
divisions and departments
Divisions and Departments
  • Department of Management Support;
  • Department of Health For All Policy & Strategy Support:
    • Health Information Management and Telecommunications

1. Division of Administration and Finance (DAF)

2. Division of Integrated Control of Diseases (DCD)

3. Division of Health Protection and Promotion (DHP)

4. Division of Health Services Development (DHS)

health information support
Health Information Support

HIT unit which is entrusted in all ICT issues at the Regional Office, comprises of four integrated sub-units:

hit subunits
HIT Subunits:
  • Health Literature Services;
  • Distribution and Sales;
  • AIDS Information Exchange Centre;
  • Informatics Management and Telecommunication.
informatics management and telecommunication
Informatics Management and Telecommunication
  • Provision of services related to the Regional Office and WHO Representatives offices with:
    • Information technology infrastructure;
    • Telecommunications infrastructure;
  • Provision of ICT support to member states in development of national health information systems.
human resources
Human Resources

40 staff work for the Unit:

  • Librarians (5)
  • Programmers (9)
  • Web designers (2)
  • Systems Engineers (6)
  • Technical Support Staff (8)
  • Clerks (9)
  • Consultants and temporary advisors.
information technology
Information Technology
  • Hardware:
  • 22 network servers
  • 380 workstations
  • 70 portable computers
  • 150+ printers
  • 3 CD-Servers
  • Routers, Switches and Firewalls
information technology1
Information Technology
  • Software:
  • ISIS family (DOS, WINDOWS, WEB);
  • Microsoft SQL;
  • IIS, ASP, and FrontPage;
  • FolioViews;
  • Other small databases on ACCESS.

ICT Services


internet support to emr countries
Internet support to EMR countries
  • Support to establish Internet connections for health institutions;
  • Support to establish Internet presence (web sites for Ministries of Health);
  • Training on Internet technology.
education and training
Education and Training
  • National training courses;
  • Conferences, professional meetings and Seminars;
  • Fellowships;
  • Internships.
e health and telemedicine
e-Health and telemedicine
  • Consultation and assessment of needs;
  • Provision of training;
  • Logistics support for equipment and software;
  • Professional meetings and conferences;
  • Policy setting national planning.
health sciences virtual library
Health Sciences Virtual Library
  • Union Catalogue of Medical Journals ;
  • Directories of health sciences libraries, depository libraries, focal points in the Region;
  • EMR Health Sciences Library Listserv;
  • Hosting of medical library sites on the EMRO web;
  • Digital Institutional Memory project;
  • Databank of Technical Papers and PowerPoint Presentations.
management information systems
Management information systems
  • Provision of software for planning, programming, budgeting, implementation and monitoring, evaluation and re-planning of WHO collaborative programme;
  • Expert systems
  • Decision support systems.
epidemiological surveillance
Epidemiological surveillance
  • Provision of software to computerise disease surveillance and registration of cases over the Internet. Publishing of health statistics and trends on the Internet;
geographic information systems gis


Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Provision of software for:
    • management of spatial database to record record digital coordinates features of geographic areas (digital maps of countries);
    • Management of attribute database to record characteristics or qualities of the spatial features (health statistics, resources, etc).
computer based medical records
Computer-based medical records
  • Development of model computer-based medical record;
  • Assistance to member states to computerize medical records;
  • Raise awareness on issues of Confidentiality and privacy.
online access to literature and information services
Online access to literature and information services
  • Provision of access to databases and networked CD-ROM;
  • Enabling access to electronic journals;
  • Establishment of discussion groups, newsgroups and Listservs;
provision of off line health literature services
Provision of off-line health literature services
  • 176 sets of CD-ROM;
  • Of which 91 are MEDLINE and 27 sets of IPCS INTOX & INCHEM;
  • Provided to 91 libraries in the Region;
  • Costing over $ 140,00;
  • 1147 journals subscriptions;
  • Provided to 211 sites in the Region;
  • Costing over US$ 961,000.