No Reinventing the Wheel when Digitizing Health Programs: How Uganda and Ethiopia are Learning from Each Other to Strengthen Malaria Responses
May 12th, 2023 | Story
May 12th, 2023 | Story
“Our work has become easier and faster due to the use of these systems, and patients no longer have to wait as long to get services.” — Health worker at Nano Gebriel HP in Ethiopia.
The USAID-funded President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Uganda Malaria Reduction Activity (MRA) aims to strengthen malaria prevention at the community and household levels in five of the highest-burden regions (Acholi, Busoga, Karamoja, Lango, and West Nile). The project works with the Government of Uganda to strengthen technical, financial, and leadership capacity at all levels of the health system to increase access to malaria prevention and treatment and reduce new infections. It also helps private for-profit health facilities improve malaria case management and reporting.
In March 2023, the project manager of digitization from Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and the digital health advisor from PMI-MRA went to Ethiopia to learn how innovations in its health information system, under the USAID-funded Digital Health Activity (DHA), could be applied to the malaria response in Uganda.
DHA is leading an initiative to digitize public health in Ethiopia. DHA works at various levels of the health system: building out tooling for community health workers through the electronic community health information systems (eCHIS), digitizing the country’s health information system (DHIS2) and the human resource for health information system. A critical DHA endeavor is an open-source electronic medical record (EMR) system that gives health professionals access to patient medical data, which is essential to provide high-quality, person-centered care. Paper patient records are now scanned and uploaded into the EMR system, accessible to any clinician or facility and reducing triage unit waiting time from 30 to fewer than three minutes. Other DHA-related gains are increased autonomy and accountability in the health system and a more responsive supply chain system to support it.
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