The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored urgent gaps in our knowledge of where health facilities are located as we work to ensure equitable access to vaccines through initiatives like COVAX. Our collective experience accessing data throughout this pandemic and in prior years has led to one unequivocal fact: we as a global community do not know where all health facilities are located. A standardized and open Global Health Facilities Database that serves as the central repository for health facility information will help World Health Organization (WHO) Member States better prepare for health emergencies; increase their capacity to leverage data; create more efficient, effective, and targeted programs; and transform data availability from a global gap into a global public good.
To help develop this database, IMC US is facilitating two working groups for WHO's Global Health Facilities Database development: the Implementation Working Group and the Technical Working Group. Through the working groups, IMC oversees strategic pathways and the work of partners to achieve the ambitious goal of every country publishing and maintaining accurate data around health facility locations.
This database will be standardized, regularly updated, and open—serving as the central repository for the health facility's name, location, and type while assigning each a unique code. A well-maintained health facility master list will allow Ministries of Health of the WHO Member States to increase their capacity to leverage data and create more efficient, effective, and targeted programs that support efforts to get back on track towards the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This database will also provide critical insights that ensure every person in every community knows where to go for care, ultimately improving access to primary care and driving progress toward universal health coverage.
OUR GOALS AND RESULTS
The project aims to have 50 countries committed to the Database by the end of the project period (June 2022) and seeks to reach all 194 WHO member states by the end of 2027. Results to date include:
- Created and facilitated two working groups: the Implementation Working Group and the Technical Working Group.
- Planned and executed the project kickoff virtual meetings and associated materials.
- Created a gap analysis and oversaw the completion of activities to address gaps across the project.