What we Do

The HELINA Education Working Group actively supports capacity building and education initiatives in Africa in the areas of health and biomedical informatics.

Focus Areas

  • In-service biomedical informatics training and development of high-quality degree programs in the field
  • Development of standardized competencies in the field
  • Work-force development strategies for countries
  • Leading the educational aspects of the HELINA annual conference
  • Supporting countries with monitoring and evaluation plans and integration of these plans into the national strategies"

Achievements

  • Collaborating closely with the International Medical Informatics Association to define the revised competencies on education in health informatics
  • Leading the process to set minimum competency standards for Masters in Health Informatics program in East Africa
  • Participated in the development of Africa CDC’s capacity-building strategy for health informatics
  • The EWG has worked with national Health Informatics Associations and Ministries of Health from various African countries to host the annual HELINA conference.
  • EWG members have led the initiation of several training programs in health informatics in the continent"

Our Activities

HELINA EWG members participated in a Workshop at Medinfo 2019 on ongoing work to re-write IMIA recommendations on biomedical and health informatics education.

HELINA EWG members will continue to engage in this work through the coming years. It is envisioned that work will also focus on the recommendations variant that is to be developed for Africa.

This work will leverage the output of; (1) the expert workshop at HELINA 2018 that produced pilot results of the IMIA Knowledge-base relevant to Africa and (2) the two-day workshop to set up minimum competency standards for Masters in Health Informatics for programs in the East African region, under the custodianship of the Inter-University Council of East Africa.

HELINA EWG should be a resource for African health informatics associations and for other institutions involved in capacity-building. To this end, the EWG will aim to disseminate health informatics curricula to a wider audience.

Sub-activities will include:

  1. Sharing of existing curricula where allowable. These would include Bachelor, Masters, and Ph.D. curricula in Biomedical and Health Informatics.
  2. Sharing updated versions of the knowledge-base and IMIA recommendations.
  3. Review and sharing of the Inter-University Council of East Africa minimum competency standards/curriculum document.
  4. EWG will work to get feedback on the minimum competency standards for MSc HI programs – especially as aligned with the new IMIA recommendations.
  5. EWG will work to get feedback on the IMIA competency document
  6. EWG will work to develop a standard training module for the basic health informatics foundation course which will be given not only to HI students but also to the other health professionals including doctors and nurses.

This activity will likely have to be done sequentially by region. As an example, engaging West and South African institutions to see if they would be interested in harmonizing their curricula with the East Africa one (as a first working document) would make a good first step – especially given that members from institutions in this region already participate in EWG activities.

The EWG will explore mechanisms for strategic engagements, where mutually beneficial and relevant engagements will include:

4.1. IMIA and the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI)

4.2. World Health Organization, Afro office

4.3. International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

4.4. Centers for Disease Control (Atlanta & Africa)

4.5. Country Health Informatics Associations: A proposal is being developed with SAHIA and SANRF for organizing a number of seminars in South Africa.

4.6. University Partners: universities are key to capacity-building and will be strategically engaged by the EWG to ensure alignment of goals.

It should be noted that each engagement will have to be systematically evaluated by the EWG to determine its importance of meeting the broader HELINA objective to serve in-country health informatics organizations and as an extension of IMIA.

The EWG will need to work with the larger HELINA to determine the best mechanism to share its work via a website and using social media. This will mean having a serious discussion on what the best modality is for web-based dissemination of its resources – especially in light of the current challenges with the HELINA website. This will also mean exploring social media-based approaches such as LinkedIn and Twitter for sharing content. The Working Group has a LinkedIn Group HELINA Education WG which currently has 83 members

The EWG will organize pre-conference workshops integrated with HELINA conferences, in order to disseminate its strategic documents.

EWG will participate in an African Health Informatics Education Summit to be organized by WHO/ITU/IAHSI in 2020.

The EWG will consolidate all its processes around the Working Group’s membership, standing meetings, documentation, decision-making, annual general meeting, and broader HELINA engagement among others. In line with the HELINA Working Groups’ remits and constitution.

The EWG will explore how to best work with relevant strategic partners to become a resource for meeting in-service health informatics capacity-building needs by member countries e.g. GEEKS program.

Join The HELINA Education Working Group

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