As part of the Albanian presidency of SEEHN (South East European Health Network), a two day workshop was held in Tirana, Albania, entitled Improving data for policy. Members of the Network, which includes representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Israel, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, sent senior health information experts, leaders and decision-makers to participate. Principal topics were strengthening health information systems and also vital registration systems, recording essential information such as births and deaths.

Shared goals and shared challenges

As well as providing a forum for networking and exchanging ideas, the workshop was an opportunity to discuss models of health information networks operating in the European Region and also to enable partner countries to discuss such models for the SEEHN community, identify common ground and challenges that could be addressed collectively.

At the workshop, participants were unanimous in their recommendation that SEEHN countries should establish a health information network – a clear recognition of the importance of health information in establishing an evidence base for decision making in health policy. WHO will be organizing a workshop next year where countries will agree on the modus operandi and terms of reference of such a network.

 

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