JKUAT College of Health Sciences (COHES) through the Digital Health Applied Research Centre (DHARC) organized a College Hall Meeting bringing together industry players, Ministry of Health officials, faculty and students from the Colleges of; Pure and Applied Sciences; Engineering and Technology; and Human Resource and Development, March 31, 2022.
The multi-disciplinary meeting deliberated on the emerging challenges and probable solutions in the use of eHealth to enhance decision-making for public health good in Kenya.
This comes at the backdrop of a partnership between Kenya Health Management Information Systems (KenyaHMIS) project and COHES that seeks to improve health information system towards the delivery of Patient-Centered Care and improve data demand and use for individual-level data in HIV.
Participants had the opportunity to learn research and entrepreneurial opportunities available within the eHealth space and familiarize with new innovations in HIV prevention and care.
While lauding the College for organizing the meeting, Ag. Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth advised the participants to see health as an enterprise, saying health economy never falters even during a recession.
Citing the COVID-19 Modeling innovation developed by JKUAT and the Ministry of Health, Dr. Amoth said data is vital in evidence-based decision making and informing policy.
“All the decisions we made during the pandemic were made based on science. The utilitarian web-based digital platform provided diverse data that was key in predicting the Coronavirus disease infection trends in the country,” attested the Director General.
Dr. Amoth encouraged the students and faculty to design and develop novel innovations and systems that are homegrown in order to solve the challenges facing the society.
To universities, the Director General said the curriculum need to focus on primary care, empowering people to take charge of their health care.
“As a ministry, we will partner with universities to create centres of excellence in the various health fields,” said Dr. Amoth.
While acknowledging that eHealth is a driver in providing a holistic approach to healthcare, Ag. Principal COHES, Dr. Reuben Thuo said COHES will partner with other colleges of the University to enhance multi-disciplinary research and innovation especially in eHealth.
“The purpose of this meeting was to sensitize students and faculty on the importance of eHealth and how through partnerships and collaborations we can develop viable solutions that will augment efforts towards strengthening access to quality health services,” said Dr. Thuo.
The students from the various colleges that attended the meeting will be involved in a multi-disciplinary hackathon and bootcamp in a bid to diversify the solutions to the challenges in health care delivery.
Various industry players from the Ministry of Health, KenyaHMIS, IntelliSOFT Consulting Limited made presentations on the status of eHealth in Kenya, system innovation and data use in health, role of technology in health, and Data Demand and Information Use (DDUI) perspective of KenyaHMIS III project.
The meeting was also addressed by the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. David Mburu, Registrar, Academic Affairs, Dr. Esther Muoria, Prof. Simon Karanja and Prof. Fred Wamunyokoli both from the School of Public Health.