What is Africa’s Public Health Network (APHeN)?
Africa’s Public Health Network (APHeN) was the name that was given to a virtual community of public health professionals, researchers, and public health enthusiasts in Africa. The community was founded in 2018 to facilitate open discussions on public health topics, and to promote collaborations and networking among public health professionals. The discussions, collaborations and networking took place on the community’s website which is accessible at www.aphen.africa.
However, to better align with our purpose of building a public health data-driven system in Africa, and our vision of being the African community for public health data and analytics, APHeN recently rebranded as Africa’s Public Health Analytics Network (APHAN).
Why is Health Data and Analytics Important To Public Health?
Health data refers to every type of data related to the health of individuals and populations. It can also be data on all kinds of treatment reports, causes of death, socio-economic parameters regarding health and wellness, and historical healthcare background such as diseases in past years. The main sources of health data are surveys, administrative and medical records, vital records, surveillance, disease registries, estimates, and peer-reviewed literature. Some benefits of quality health data include:
- Supporting clinical treatment decisions from physicians and other health professionals.
- Improving the accuracy and speed of identifying patients at the highest risk of disease.
- Providing greater detail in the electronic health records (EHRs) of individual patients.
- Making the provision of healthcare more efficient, which reduces costs.
- Promoting preventive measures by giving patients greater insight into their health and treatment goals.
- Accelerating progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
The healthcare industry generates a tremendous amount of data but struggles to convert that data into insights that improve operational efficiencies and health outcomes. That’s where health data analytics comes in.
Health data analytics helps to identify populations in need of care, measure the care provided to them, and deliver care to the correct people. Through data analytics, providers can improve patient outcomes, enhance care management, and address social determinants of health. Health data analytics results in better decision-making and an informed public; a necessary prerequisite for civic engagement, which also ensures accountability in health interventions. Thus, health data and analytics is without doubt needed to learn how healthcare can be better delivered in Africa.
The Rebranding Process
APHeN became APHAN on the 17th of August, 2022. The change was announced on the community’s website and social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. The logo was changed to show the analytics aspect of the community. In addition, the website address was also changed to www.aphan.africa.
What to expect from APHAN
As its name depicts, the APHAN community is mainly focused on promoting the analysis of health data, and sharing analyzed data for the benefit of everyone. Our activities include, but are not limited to:
- Discussions on health informatics
- Networking with other public health analysts
- Sharing information about public health and health data analytics conferences, events, training, workshops, scholarships, and fellowships.
- Providing information on the best sources of health data.
- Organizing and executing health-data-centered physical and digital events on relevant topics/issues to sensitize people on the importance of using data for action.
- Capacity building on the use of data analytics tools such as DHIS2 etc.
Are you a public health or data analyst? Or are you interested in health data and analytics? If so, you are welcome to join the APHAN community. Visit www.aphan.africa to sign up. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to stay informed about our activities.