U.S. Prepares Health Officers to Better Respond to Current and Emerging Health Threats

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; May 2, 2019 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health launched the Growing Expertise in E-Health Knowledge and Skills (GEEKS) program to prepare public health workers to improve their ability to use data to inform their response to health threats.

More than 60 senior health officials attended the GEEKS training, representing the Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), Regional Health Bureaus, Health Informatics Systems (HIS) Partner Universities, and the Ministry of Innovations and Technology from April 18-21, 2019 in Bishoftu and Addis Ababa.

The GEEKS training builds on previous U.S. investments in the capacity of Ethiopian health officials to improve the quality of health data through standardized collection and reporting procedures.  Graduates of the training have increased their ability to use quality data to make evidence-based decisions in the government’s approach to various health threats.

The ability to accurately monitor and respond to emerging health hazards, as well as to ending existing epidemics such as HIV/ AIDS depends on a strong and well-functioning health information infrastructure as well as the capacity of health professionals to being able to collect, analyze, and use that information to make informed and timely decisions.

Director of the Health Information Technology Directorate at the Ethiopian Ministry of Health Eyob Kebede said, “We have been putting strong emphasis to this initiative because we strongly believe that this collaborative endeavor between CDC and the ministry of health will help to improve and sustainably maintain informatics capacity within the country’s health system”

Prior to the GEEKS training, CDC sponsored an inter-government learning exchange at their headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, where participants from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and EPHI for immersive activities focused on developing sustainable national health programs.