HIS country ownership & leadership continuum

National health information systems (HIS) are critical to the delivery of health care and public health services. Well managed, HIS supports decision making, accountability and coordination of the health investments of governments and international donors. The many stakeholders and initiatives attest to the value, as well as the complexity, of strengthening HIS.

Country leadership is essential to coordinate and focus these efforts. These two elements – leadership and coordination – form the basis of the country ownership approach, which emphasizes a transition to mutual accountability, greater recipient control over funds received, and multisectoral engagement.

The country ownership approach was used in a series of Leadership Forums on Health Information Systems in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2009); Windhoek, Namibia (2010); and Manila, Philippines (2011), sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Health Metrics Network (HMN), and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Country Ownership Continuum was developed by WHO, USAID and ITU as a framework for discussing the major components of health information systems, in the context of country ownership.