Eastern and Southern Caribbean (ESC)

CHISU is supporting governments in the Caribbean region to strengthen their COVID-19 response, improve supply chain management, and provide overall support to improve health information systems.

Caribbean islands are particularly vulnerable to external shocks from natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and economic decline. This is largely due to their geographic location and economic structure, which is heavily dependent on climate-related activities such as tourism and agriculture. The shock from pandemics like COVID-19 can therefore have devastating effects on the health sector due to increased demand for health services. The occurrence and duration of disease outbreaks are particularly difficult to predict, with outbreaks often being transmitted from one country to another—especially given the high level of international and regional travel.

Within the Caribbean region, data on COVID-19 cases are reported to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) regional office from national ministries of health. Even though this data provides insights on trends and hotspots in the region, there are weaknesses in the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of this data. These weaknesses have contributed to significant challenges in COVID-19 decision making within each country.

Several lessons have been learned in the region and beyond from the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the need to strengthen health information systems (HIS) to ensure adequate preparedness for future health emergencies. 

Supporting the region’s COVID-19 response

CHISU has been supporting ministries of health in five ESC countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Suriname) to identify COVID-19 data gaps that could hinder their timely and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, CHISU is providing technical assistance to each of these countries’ ministries of health to support improved data collection, aggregation, analysis, and use of COVID-19 vaccination data.

Additionally, CHISU has supported the production of communication materials highlighting USAID’s support to the COVID-19 response in the region. These materials have included fifteen monthly newsletters distributed to the White House, ESC embassies, and other U.S. Government stakeholders and which highlighted COVID-19 case and vaccination data from countries in the region, as well as descriptions of CHISU and other partners’ activities around COVID-19.

Providing HIS support across the region

CHISU provided short-term technical assistance in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to establish a supply chain strategic plan and develop HIS requirements to improve delivery of health commodities in the country. This initiative included a desk review of available documentation; onsite facility assessments; and workshops around supply chain strategy and information technology systems requirements.

In addition, CHISU is helping develop and launch the Caribbean HIS Technical Support Facility through support to the University of the West Indies’ Center for Health Economics. This facility will help institutionalize HIS technical support in the Caribbean region by providing consistent availability of HIS technical capacity outside of country governments; being a source for consistent, standards-based HIS guidance; serving as a regional collaboration platform for benchmarking against expected HIS performance; and more.

The program is also helping plan a regional HIS learning exchange to bring together stakeholders to exchange lessons learned and strategize around integrated health information management following COVID-19.

Activity Updates

Regional HIS Learning Event in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean

Person presenting behind a podium

At the end of January 2024, CHISU convened regional health information system (HIS) stakeholders in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean (ESC) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to share lessons learned to strengthen HIS coordination in the region. Read more ›

Blog Posts

Why is governance important in health information system strengthening—and how does it play a role in CHISU’s work?

Digital Health Week 2023 is an opportunity for the digital health community to share their successes, challenges, and perspectives on the role of digital health in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Several of the week’s themes resonate with CHISU’s work, but the theme of governance stands out. We asked CHISU team members: Why do you think governance is important when it comes to health data and digital health tools? And how does governance play a role in the work you do for CHISU? Read more ›

Success Stories

CHISU Results in Action: Improving the Health and Supply Chain and Systems to Increase Commodity Availability in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Published

While St Vincent and the Grenadines' supply chain only contains two tiers, several obstacles exist to understanding and effectively balancing supply and demand for health commodities. CHISU supply chain and information technology experts traveled to the country to assess these obstacles and make recommendations to improve commodity management and availability at health facilities nationwide. Read more ›

Resources

CHISU Annual Report Infographic

CHISU Highlights from October 2022–September 2023

Published

The Country Health Information and Data Systems Use (CHISU) program experienced remarkable growth from October 2022–September 2023, expanding from nine countries and regions at the beginning of the year to 17 at the end of the year. CHISU was engaged in 10 global technical activities at the beginning of the year, and 26 at the end of the year.