The Ministry of Health (MoH) will carry out a pilot programme of Electronic Community Health Information System (eCHIS) in Kisumu County before it is eventually rolled out across the country.
The national health transformation project aims at digitizing information on community health services across the nation and will revolutionise the delivery of health care deep in rural parts of the country.
The National Government will spend Sh5.2 billion to create a unified national electronic community health information system whose 100 per cent adoption by the 47 counties will be done by 2025.
Ministry of Health head of Division of Community Health Dr. Maureen Kimani, while presenting a justification for the project at a Kisumu Hotel Monday, said the paper based old system was cumbersome and the community based information tools were often out of stock.
“There has been inefficient data collection, analysis and reporting. The paper based tools have also been costly, resulting in delay in timely data submission,” noted Dr. Kimani.
The Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) would be supplied with electronic devices such as mobile phones to replace the costly and rigorous paper work in public hospitals.
Through this system, the CHVs will register family members from their locality. These data and medical records would then be available at local health centres for use in case of any sicknesses.
In an executive summary to the National Community Health Digitization Strategy 2020-2025, the Acting Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth says the ministry was responding to the gaps identified in Community Health service delivery and data management.
In addition, Dr. Kimani said the project was anchored on the National Strategy for Community health digitization, which seeks to strengthen health data management systems in the country.
Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o hailed MoH for picking on Kisumu County to pilot the project that would boost the primary health care in Kenya.
Nyong’o further noted that the initiative will help address the inefficiencies that have dogged the primary health care sector.
“You cannot successfully provide health care without real-time data and accurate information from patients. This project will eliminate the use of exercise books by patients seeking treatment in health facilities,” said Nyong’o, adding that, “universal health care can only succeed with data driven sound health care system. Without data harvested through a sound health care system, it will be like climbing a tree from the top.”
Kisumu was among the four counties including Isiolo, Machakos, and Nyeri that piloted the Universal Health Care Programme in 2019. It will be the only county to pilot the electronic Community Health Information System.
The County Health Chief Officer Dr. Gregory Ganda said Kisumu has been chosen to pilot the project because of its robust health care infrastructure and interest to invest in Community health.
Only recently the county launched a health insurance scheme known as ‘Marwa’ Kisumu Solidarity Health Cover for close to 90,000 vulnerable households.
By Robert Ojwang