Kenyan Counties Leverage Technology ahead of UHC Roll-out

Dr. Fatihiyya Wangara addresses participants of the HIGDA College Hall

Counties that have benefited from the USAID-Health Informatics Governance and Data Analytics (HIGDA) have intensified use of technological innovations and products as Kenya gears to rollout universal health coverage.

In Kisumu County, which is one of the counties selected to pilot the UHC programme, the department of health is increasingly leveraging geographic information science to support decision making.

The four health officers who have benefited from HIGDA have cascaded learned knowledge to other officers, enabling the County to effectively use GIS in tracking HIV positive clients not linked to care.

“We noted that there was a higher HIV positivity in children between ages 1 to 4 years in West Seme ward. Thereafter, we made a managerial decision to deploy more resources in the health facilities in that area,” said Dr. Kevin Rombosia, a HIGDA beneficiary.

Kisumu county has also used technology to draw the correlation between accessibility of health facilities and its impacts on skilled delivery as envisaged by the World Health Organization under UHC.

Participants follow proceedings during the meeting

In Kwale County, the training has prompted use of GIS maps in monthly and quarterly reports. The county’s Health Research Coordinator, Dr. Fatihiyya Wangara said HIGDA programme had made significant contributions understanding prevalence of diseases such as malaria in the county.

Dr. Wangara and Dr. Rombosia made the revelations during the second HIGDA College Hall meeting, held on July 11, 2018. The event themed emerging opportunities in the use of health information technology and data visualization, was staged to take stock of the gains made in the implementation of HIGDA since inception in 2016.

Addressing the participants, head of e-health programme at the Ministry of Health, Onesmus Kamau said adoption of technological innovations could substantially ameliorate doctor shortage in the country.

Mr. Onesmus who said that access to healthcare was a constitutional right, also urged JKUAT and other training institutions to mount tailor-made courses that can sustainably address the gaps in the healthcare sector.

On his part, JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo urged HIGDA beneficiaries to put to gut use the knowledge from the programme towards UHC as espoused under government’s ‘Big Four Agenda.’

Isaiah Nyabuto gives his experiences during HIGDA boot camp 2017

The meeting was also intended to sensitize students on the opportunities under HIGDA such as boot camps and hackathons; which aims to harness students’ creativity to address gaps in the healthcare sector.

Isaiah Nyabuto who participated in the 2017 boot camp said the event enabled his team to build a product called Hello Life, a predictive tool which models how people in the counties can allocate resources based on time series analysis.

HIGDA advocates for increased use of data analytics and geospatial products in policy making, program planning, management and budget related decision making in the counties. The Project has a focus of 20 counties drawn from eastern, coast, western, central, Nairobi and rift valley regions.

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