In an inspiring effort to transform healthcare in Uganda, a team of researchers and technology experts, in collaboration with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, is poised to dismantle long-standing barriers obstructing the realization of Uganda’s Health Information and Digital Strategic Plan.
At the recent Digital Health Forum in Kampala, Dr. Silver Kiyimba, the principal investigator and CEO of Integrated Intelligent Computer System (IICS), a company entrusted by the government to develop this groundbreaking system, outlined its mission to amplify healthcare services.
“Our focus is on closely monitoring the performance of every facet of the healthcare sector, providing invaluable feedback for informed decision-making.”
Dr. Kiyimba highlighted a remarkable feature of the new system; the use of national ID cards to reduce patient waiting times and streamline healthcare worker management.
The IICS was initiated by the government in 2010, to develop a digital system for all government health facilities, which has now reached the deployment phase after a successful pilot at Mulago Hospital.
“Its functionality, incorporating artificial intelligence, will also interface with the National Medical Stores to track government drug movements.” the CEO revealed.
However, amidst this remarkable journey towards digital innovation, there is a crucial human element that cannot be overlooked. Irene Wanyana, a Research Associate from Makerere University School of Public Health, shed light on the gap between healthcare providers and the digital world.
She stressed the importance of adapting and localizing technological innovations where they can make the most impact.
“There is a need for collaboration between the government, private sector, and implementers to educate and empower healthcare providers about the potential of these digital tools because many fear that they are here to take away their jobs which is not true.”
Paul Mbaka, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of information management at the Ministry of Health, assured that digital tools are being introduced gradually to healthcare facilities to support healthcare workers.
“These tools are designed not to replace doctors and nurses but to enhance their work and bolster disease surveillance efforts in the country.”
The initiative aligns with a broader campaign endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, USAID, WFP, UNCDF, CDC, PMI, and The Global Fund.
According to Mbaka, Amidst this transition to a digitally empowered healthcare system, the human element remains central, ensuring that technology complements and empowers the dedicated healthcare providers tirelessly working for the well-being of Ugandans.