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Believing in refugees' right to health, the Global Health Institute (GHI) at AUB provided 10,000 refugees across Lebanon with cloud-based electronic health records (EHR) as part of one of its flagship projects
The Sijilli project, which was launched as a response to the increasing need of refugees to securely access their health information throughout their migration journey, served as the focus of a strategic roundtable discussion organized by GHI on October 28, 2021.
The event, which took place on campus, brought together ambassadors, representatives of embassies, and heads of delegations, in addition to representatives of UN organizations and funding agencies, in the presence of Dr. Fadlo Khuri, AUB president. Attendees engaged in a fruitful discussion, moderated by Dr. Shadi Saleh, GHI's founding director, on the potential for scalability of the Sijilli project, taken into consideration the context-specific design of the Sijilli model, its possibility for replication in different low-resource settings, and its applicability to different populations, be it refugees or other disadvantaged groups.
During his keynote speech, Dr. Khuri highlighted the commitment of AUB to work alongside partners to improve the health of the communities, stating that “It is our responsibility to support refugees in accessing their basic right to health; but we cannot do this without partners." He continued to stress that “partnerships are key to the success of every innovative initiative including Sijilli."
In addition, Dr. Khuri pointed out that “the American University of Beirut has come to the aid of the community for more than a century in supporting people in the medical, health, and educational fields irrespective of who they are and where they come from, and Sijilli is an example of that."
On the other hand, Dr. Saleh described the event as a “starting point to engage with like-minded organizations in a discussion on how to join efforts to enhance access of disadvantaged populations, including refugees, to better health." He said, "Refugees' basic right to health cannot be compromised by their status or inability to access their medical records."
Dr. Saleh added, “we hope that we will be able to work together to enable the 80 million displaced people worldwide to have secure access to their health records throughout their migration journey and beyond."
The event also featured a short film on Sijilli titled “A Story of How Technology Can Give Promise of Better Health for Refugees" produced by BBC StoryWorks for GHI, and presented by NCD Alliance.
Sijilli, is a cloud-based mobile electronic health record system designed to capture essential health information, similar to that noted in a basic medical record. Sijilli serves as a model to securely collect and maintain health data of displaced individuals throughout their displacement journey and beyond. The model is characterized by its multi-level of security, its contextualized design, and its applicability to different low-resource settings. To date, more than 10,000 refugees across Lebanon obtained their Sijilli electronic health record as part of the pilot phase of the project implemented by AUB GHI in partnership with Epic systems corporation and a network of non-governmental organizations.
The AUB Global Health Institute (GHI) employs an interdisciplinary approach to addresses global health challenges, particularly those relevant to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the Global South. GHI comprises three divisions. The first is the Programs Division that is focused on research, policy, and advocacy. The second is the Academy Division which offers capacity building initiatives to different target populations. And the third is the ASSIST Division that empowers different actors at the community level especially non-governmental organizations through a wide range of services and support.