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WHO South East Asia J Public Health. 2019 Sep;8(2):87-94. doi: 10.4103/2224-3151.264852.

Strengthening health systems through informatics capacity development among doctors in low-resource contexts: the Sri Lankan experience.

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Specialty Board in Biomedical Informatics, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Department of Informatics, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway


In the process of strengthening health systems, a lack of health-informatics capacity within low- and middle-income country settings is a considerable challenge. Many capacity-development initiatives on health informatics exist, most of which focus on the adoption of eHealth tools by front-line health-care workers. By contrast, there are only a few programmes that focus on empowering medical doctors in low- and middle-income countries to become champions of digital health innovation and adoption. Sri Lanka has a dynamic eHealth ecosystem, resulting largely from the country’s community of medical doctors who are also health informaticians. They are the result of a decade-long programme centred on a Master of Science degree course in biomedical informatics, which has trained over 150 medical doctors to date, and has now been extended to a specialist training programme. This paper evaluates this unique capacity-development effort from the perspective of strengthening health systems and how those in other low- and middle-income country contexts may learn from the Sri Lankan experience when implementing capacity-development programmes in health informatics.


capacity development; eHealth ecosystem; health informatics; health information systems

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