By Moyosore Salami
The Global Health Institute (GHI) at American University of Beirut has provided 10,000 refugees across Lebanon with cloud-based electronic health records (EHR) as part of one of its flagship projects ‘Sijilli’.
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.
In his keynote speech, Dr. Fadlo Khuri, AUB president 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 his part, Dr. Shadi Saleh, GHI founding director, 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.”