By Lerato Ndlovu
Government is set to introduce ICTs in delivering health services.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting yesterday Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the cabinet has noted that smart health initiatives have proved to be effective in challenges experienced in delivering health care services.
“Regarding the Smart Health Programme, cabinet notes that the need for deployment of ICTs in delivering health services has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart health initiatives such as telemedicine have proved to be very effective in overcoming barriers to health care and ensuring timely provision of services.
“Zimbabwe has therefore embarked on an initiative to ensure that all facilities are connected countrywide through a telemedicine virtual system that is being rolled out.
She stated that the project is to be implemented in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
“Government wishes to advise that a pilot tele-medicine project valued at US$357 632 is being implemented in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
“The pilot project entails the use of ICTs to facilitate the provision of clinical health care using real-time two-way communication between physicians and patients at remote rural centres”.
A total of 15 health centres were equipped with state-of-the-art Transportable Examination Stations (TES) comprising high-resolution autofocus examination cameras, stethoscope, a Total Vital Signs test device, a laptop, ultrasound scan devices, electrocardiography (ECG) services and blood pressure cuffs.
“All 15 centres that have added facilities are linked to Parirenyatwa Referral Hospital, allowing for sharing of patient data and consultations with other referral healthcare institutions,” she said.
“It should be noted that the telemedicine solution is fully integrated to the Impilo Virtual Health System recently launched by the Ministry of Health and Child Care”.
The Smart Health Programme will result in: Improved health service delivery and efficiencies; Improved health surveillance; Improved health-system and records management; Improved health education and clinical decision-making; and Support for behavioral changes related to public health priorities and disease management.
The Programme will have the following benefits: Offering treatment to patients in the comfort of their homes; Confidentiality of medical information; Reduction in travelling costs to health facilities; High responsiveness to medical emergencies; and Reduced referrals, consultation fees and mortality rates.
According to Mutsvangwa “the Smart Health System will be able to be opened to similar international health systems when there is need. The nation is advised that scoping and development work has already started and should be completed during the National Development Strategy 1 period”.
Govt To Introduce Smart Health Initiatives
By Lerato Ndlovu