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VODAN Africa Unveils a Strategic Plan Aimed at Ensuring Her Sustainability and The African Health Data Space


On Thursday, December 21st 2023, the VODAN-Africa Initiative had an expanded End-of-the-Year meeting that showcased the great work the team and various research groups have been working on throughout the year. The meeting themed "FAIR Federated Data Space - A Proposed Landscape" was hosted on-site at Leiden University, Netherlands, and over 80 attendees joined online from Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Since March 2020, VODAN-Africa has been strengthening national capacities for health data analytics as well as the use of health data at the point of care of the participating health facilities.

According to Prof. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, VC Kampala International University and Chair VODAN-Africa Board, "Over the past year, significant progress has been achieved through the collaborative efforts of researchers, health facilities, administrators, ministries of health, and other partners. This collective synergy has yielded impactful use cases, highlighting the crucial advancements in establishing an African Health Data Space".

A strategic plan aimed at ensuring the sustainability of VODAN-Africa and the African Health Data Space was also unveiled during the meeting.

During the meeting, the following presentations were made by some experts and researchers under the VODAN-Africa Network:

  • The European Health Data Space - Misha Stocker
  • De Novo FAIRification - Zhengyu Lin
  • VODAN-Africa Personal Data Protection and Data Production: Opportunities and Challenges - Putu Hadi Purnama Jati
  • Learning From Distributed Data (with data obtained from the Emory Winship Cancer Institute) - Ruduan Plug
  • VODAN-Africa 2023 Annual Report - Samson Yohannes Amare

Additional presentations on Data Science in Practice (DSIP) - Fieldlabs were made on the following areas by VODAN African researchers.

  • Development of a regional administration patient data dashboard for antenatal care monitoring based on federated algorithms - with Getu Tadelle Aye and Samson Yohannes Amare.
  • Comparing DHIS and FAIR-Data for privacy preserving health analytics of patient data in Uganda - with Mildred Akandinda, Bwaga Ibrahim & Mariam Basajja;
  • Pregnancy serious risk analytics using multicountry maternal health data - with Samson Yohannes.
  • Vascular disease risk analytics through interoperability of FAIR patient records with wearables - with Abdullahi Kawu & Rens Kievit.
  • Data interoperability of relevant information pertaining to elderly with dementia in The Netherlands - with Lars Schrijver & Ria Landa.
  • GraphGuard: Safeguarding Refugees by Analyzing Perpetrator Networks - with Kai Smits;
  • SecuRePod: Personal data safety for refugees on the move created through permission control with a FAIR ontology - with Kai Smits.

"These use cases not only underscore the inherent value but also emphasize their vital role in illustrating the practicality and viability of a FAIR federated network. The thoughtful presentation of these use cases during the event showcased the tangible progress made, underscoring their crucial role in demonstrating the real-world applicability and potential of our collaborative efforts. This progress reflects our shared commitment to advancing data science solutions and fostering innovation in the healthcare landscape", said Prof. Mirjam van Reisen, PI and International Coordinator, of VODAN-Africa.

Furthermore, 6 FAIR Data Stewards Level 4 and 37 FAIR Data Clerks were certified. These new experts add to the pool of 31 FAIR Data Stewards certified last year on FAIR Data Production. 11 health facilities from Ethiopia (2), Nigeria (3), Kenya (3) and Uganda (3) were given a certificate of recognition for demonstrating competence in FAIR Data Production.

The VODAN-Africa Team thanks Accenture, Philips, Nuffic, Achmea, Microsoft, and IMS for their generous support.

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