Uganda to invest in e-health system

In a world that is increasingly dependent on ICT, Ugandan technocrats have proposed that the country invest money to develop an ICT-based health care system.

Save for a few health care centers and hospitals that have deployed a semblance of ICT for things like data collection and management, Uganda's public health care system is not automated, like most other public sectors in the country.

The proposal for an e-health system, contained in Uganda's draft IT policy, suggests that citizens would gain access to better health care delivery through ICT.

The objectives are varied, but key among them is to use IT to establish health care information systems cutting across primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems. The proposal also calls for the deployment of IT for the development of drug information and records, for the study and control of epidemics, for research and dissemination of information, for distance learning in the medical profession, and to reduce costs and improve productivity.

According to the policy draft, the government would achieve these objectives by capitalizing on existing global IT infrastructure, such as e-mail facilities that could connect medical personnel in Uganda with their peers in developed countries.

As for IT skills training, the draft states that IT would be included in the curricula of all medical and paramedical educational institutions. Training would not only connect medical personnel, it reads, but would aid in the development of software packages for health care delivery, primarily to support clinical work and hospital management, so that government information statistics are produced as a natural by-product of daily operations.

As a tool to survey national health threats, the draft states that IT would further be exploited to teach ways of preventing the transmission of HIV and to educate patients and their families on palliative measures, providing them with information through online conferences where they can share their experiences.

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