In April 2023, an innovative and new 12-month certificate-based Informatics and Data Science for Health (IDASH) fellowship training program will launch in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia region. This week, on December 12-15 in Bishkek, Ministry of Health representatives from Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan finalized the IDASH training package aimed to create and use public health information systems that enable the capture, management, analysis, dissemination, and use of reliable, timely information to improve population-level health. Dr. Abdykadyrov Sultan, the Director of the Kyrgyzstan Department for Disease Prevention and State Sanitary and Epidemiology Control said, “It is important for us that this kind of event is taking place in our country with participation of Eastern Europe and Central Asia…the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the tremendous need for digital solutions to support an all-hazards emergency response, including consideration of epidemiological surveillance, infection control and monitoring tools.”
The development of this program has piloted a participatory design process, including multi-country representation and stakeholders from across the region owning the concept and execution of the program from the beginning. The CDC Kyrgyzstan Country Director and Regional Program Director for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, Dr Patrick Nadol, stated in his remarks, “…you are part of the team that is working to develop, design, and implement this innovative program [and] there is a certain degree of ownership and development that is extremely exciting to move [the IDASH program] forward.” IDASH is a collaboration between Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University of Washington, and the WHO/Europe Regional Office.