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 Friday, June 07, 2013


What used to be a system where patient files had to be looked up in papers in a dusty attic, is now in the process of becoming a digital system in several Ugandan hospitals. With continuous computer training, medical training via computers with a teleconferencing tool, a soon-to-be digital pharmacy and electronic patient records, Lubaga hospital in Kampala and other Ugandan hospitals are taking giant steps to improve their quality.

In a wooden attic, cabinets filled with old papers are collecting dust. “These are our old patient records”, says records assistant Rhodah Kiconco. Unlike the rest of Lubaga hospital, a city hospital in Kampala which has quite a nice temperature, the attic is directly under the roof and very hot. After one year, patient files are moved from the hospitals main department to the attic. In practice this could mean that if a patient moves to another city or village and comes back a couple of years later, that it is hard to find his or her records again quickly. For these and many other reasons, the hospital is now in the process of digitalizing with the support of IICD and Cordaid via the Connect4Change Consortium together with Ugandan partner UCMB. Patient records will be stored digitally and easily accessible from most places in the hospital and hospital staff receives continuous computer training and health training via computers.

Two floors down, a group of 12 nurses and doctors receive computer training by IT instructor Andrew Ssemwezi who is talking about how to use some of the features of Google online such as a shared calendar. In the afternoon, 12 other nurses, doctors and administrative workers will receive the same course. The 24 people will receive basic computer training for several weeks and then other groups take their place. Once all staff is trained in basic computer training, the staff can start using the available computers for continuous medical training, says UCMB’s project coordinator Jenard Ntacyo. “The idea is that in the future, all nurses and other staff have to start using computers for e-learning. And if they don’t participate and do continuous training, they could lose their license”.

(Source: IICD)