National Health Observatories

AHO supports countries to develop national health observatories (NHOs). These will serve as multi-stakeholder and collaborative structures and platforms. They will support and facilitate the capture, production, sharing, translation and application of information, evidence and knowledge (IEK) to support national efforts at improving national health systems and outcomes. With WHO support, several countries have started work towards establishing their observatories, while a number of others have expressed an interest in doing so.

It is envisaged that NHOs will have a similar structure to that of the African Health Observatory.

  • a Web portal for easy access to the best available information, evidence and knowledge;
  • a data-statistics platform enabling data downloading, processing and analysis, or access to ready-made statistics on the country and districts;
  • analytical national and district-level profiles in a collaborative space (e.g., based on wiki technology) allowing the production and updating of these profiles. The profiles would be based on both quantitative and qualitative information, and would be comprehensive and cover areas as health systems, priority programmes, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and key determinants of health;
  • a platform and relevant tools that enable networking, collaborative work and learning within and between groups, communities of practice, and institutions;
• a repository of key publications from or associated with the National Health Observatory.


When fully functional NHOs would:

  • serve as one-stop-shop for IEK on the country, district or any other administrative unit;
  • facilitate monitoring of health situation and trends;
  • enable projections and scenario building to assist planning and implementation; and forecasting of events through early warning systems;
  • support the monitoring and evaluation of health system reforms;
  • facilitate the acquisition, generation and sharing of evidence for policy and decision;
  • establish and maintain networks and communities of practice for the translation and application of evidence and knowledge; as well as for collaborative learning and innovation to improve and sustain human and institutional capacity for IEK;
  • promote and support the strengthening of data sources, including vital registration;
  • facilitate the efficient and effective application of information and communication technologies for improved access to health information and knowledge sharing.