The world has become smaller and more accessible thanks to technology. Growing up in Africa, communication could take weeks or months depending on how and where you were sending your postal letter, and telephones were a privilege of few in the society. Now, we can email and video call anywhere in the globe.

Health information has taken a similar evolutionary detour though there are still the last vestiges of antiquated modes of health information producers and custodians’ practices sporadically spread across Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries (LMIC). This does not necessarily justify the dystopian narrative and literature I have come across.

I am excited about this year’s Joint 20th IFHIMA & 40th HIMAA National 2023 Congress that will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The theme Advancing global health: in pursuit of high-quality digital information is very timely and relevant to the health information profession. With such concepts, the globalization of health information will achieve its mission.

There is an affluence of health data/information production but limitations in the utilization. With the abundance of health information, the utilization and the impact should not be limited to emergencies, crises, or pandemics. Evidence-based decisions are a justification of the significance of health information. Policies are frozen and shelved consequently, or not implemented due to system failures. The critical role of health data and information in informing policy and evidence-based decision-making in healthcare delivery should be emphasized.

Health information is the biggest goldmine of the modern data/information that should be guarded jealously and as one of the zealous cavalry, I believe we are on the right track and need to tighten our hold a little bit. How we have more health information at our fingertips and better technology, but debilitating healthcare systems globally remains a cryptic equation.

What I experienced in Japan gave me pride as a Health Information Management professional, everything I have read theoretically I witnessed firsthand in Nagasaki university hospital. The Japanese culture and discipline made paperless health information management look seamless and healthcare services delivery not only accessible and affordable, but efficient. With the digital transformation taking place since the late 90s, the organization and timeliness of the events were exquisite.

The pandemic lessons are still vivid and even those with the deepest pockets and the aristocracy were not spared. The panacea was uniting as one and implementing simple common practices. It reminded us of our interdependence as human beings and societies and how the world is now a digital realm.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. As indicated in my paper, “Efforts to a Belief and Decolonize Global Health”, the proliferation of artificial intelligence(AI) for health and the Decolonization of global health is no longer an option but a need. Some have cautioned against espousing AI, which is debatable, especially in healthcare considering human errors, and the need for storage, timeliness, and precision in health information.

In addition to reducing turnaround time, there is a lot of hope in optimizing available resources. AI is changing how everything, and everyone operates. The technology will be an impetus to more accurate and detailed information about diseases, their etiology and treatments. It will be possible to identify and predict disease trends consequently, plan better if not prevent the disease before it evolves.

Data privacy and protection is culminating, and we need to use today’s and tomorrow’s keys to operate and open today’s doors. Most importantly, the concept of AI has been, and is, constantly evolving. What you go to sleep with is not always what you wake up to in the world. If we can guard our homes, savings, armoury, and state houses surely, we can safeguard our health data too. I advocate for the globalization of health information as it will yield standard operating procedures and healthcare equity. It is through such forums like the Congress being organized by IFHIMA in Brisbane Australia that the advancement of global health will be achieved.



Salim Omambia Matagi, AMRO, IFHIMA

Principal at KMTC