On June 29th, the dLab held its first RoundTable event, bringing together approximately 30 people from at least 15 health focused organizations to discuss health data availability, data sharing and data use. Organizations represented included Tanzanian government agencies, funding organizations, implementing partners, and academics.
All participants expressed interest in the new dLab project and the promise of open data for health issues. Some participants also mentioned wider applications such as supporting economic development.
The session began by exploring the variety and amount of data potentially available. The participants noted that the availability of data mirrors the common proliferation of data systems run by different government agencies, funding organizations, and implementing partners
Participants highlighted that the current patchwork of systems running in silos confronts data sharing and use initiatives with a variety of challenges, including competing/conflicting standards, ensuring different levels of access/appropriate permissions, and the availability of various levels of data from individual and personally identifiable to aggregated statistics. Furthermore, participants underscored the relevance of the dLab project in promoting collaboration between health data stakeholders, in exploring analytical methods needed to reexamine emerging data issues, and in connecting relevant data required to meet evolving health needs.