Whenever she sought treatment for her two-year-old sickly daughter, Amina Naziwa, would carry with her a bag of worries to the hospital.
By John Masaba
Whenever she sought treatment for her two-year-old sickly daughter, Amina Naziwa, would carry with her a bag of worries to the hospital. For each visit to the hospital Naziwa had to buy an exercise book in which the doctor would record all details of her sick child.
This book she guarded carefully — like one would a passport when travelling in a foreign country. If she, by any chance, lost it or left it at home, she could access medical services at the health facility.
But, even when Naziwa carried the book, there would be no guarantee that all would be well. In the waiting room there would be many patients waiting. The queue was endless and getting to see the doctor was an enormous task.
“Sometimes after waiting for hours for your turn, the doctor would tell you there wasno medicine!” says Naziwa, a resident of Nakisunga village in Mukono.
But lately, even though her daughter’s asthma, which is the reason for her constant visit to the health facility has not been cured, Naziwa is all smiles, following an innovation by good Samaritans from Karolinska University in Sweden.
The innovation, code named ICT4MPower, is a computer enhanced programme used to capture information about patients.
The project is being piloted at Mukono heath centre IV. It is the first of its kind in any government-aided health centre in the country. It is sponsored by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).How it works
According to Dr. Geoffrey Kasirye, the officer in charge of Mukono heath centre IV, each patient is registered on their first visit to the facility. Information about their age, place of residence and medical details are capture and stored in the computer database.
When the patient visits the health centre again, the doctor does not have to go through the process of capturing the information again.
“With just a click of a button, a clinician is able to do the work he would have done in 15 minutes in just two minutes. Attending to patients is more orderly and fair,” Dr. Anthony Konde, the Mukono municipality health officer, says. Seriously ill patients are given first priority through a system called colour coding.
The system has three colour codes: red (for very sick), green (for moderate) and yellow (not very sick). Once a patient is coded red, he or she is attended to before others,” says Kasirye.
“We save about sh300,000 every month on stationery because our staff no longer need pens and paper,” he adds. For the past two months the technology has been in place Kasirye says he has been able to effectively supervise staff.
“I can now follow up on how drugs are administered because we have eliminated ghost patients,” he says.
Although the innovation has brought some relief to the facility, there is still a problem of shortage of staff.
Mukono health centre IV goes hi-tech