Kenya: Pumwani hospital healthcare records going Digital

By Lawrence Mbae (AHIN):

Digital Divide Data Kenya, a local BPO/ITeS company plans to digitize all medical records at Pumwani Maternity Hospital, the largest maternity hospital in Kenya, in a bid to reduce paperwork and manage patients’ records efficiently.

During the tour of the project at Digital Divide Data, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. James Macharia was impressed with the digitization of heathcare records at Pumwani Hospital and expressed the need for the project to roll out to the referral hospitals. Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Dr Fred Matiangi, accompanied him. The project team led by the Kenya ICT Authority and Rockefeller foundation took both Cabinet Secretaries on a tour of the hospital digitization project at the company.

The tour focused on highlighting the opportunity that exists with digitization of government records and key among them being job creation and growth of ICT businesses in the country.

Speaking during the tour, the CS, Ministry of Health noted that majority of health facilities in Kenya use manual systems in record keeping which makes the process of sourcing for patients’ records longer, tedious and at times unaccountable. “Majority of our healthcare records are done manually. To bring healthcare in Kenya to international standards, we need such projects that target health centres,” said Mr. Macharia.


Mr. Macharia further added that the supply chain of commodities in the devolved government without IT systems was almost impossible. “We cannot afford to perform procurement services without IT since in the health industry as we do not have the luxury of missing targets. It will be good to have a system in which by the press of a button, one can order a prescription from Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).”

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Echoing Mr. Macharia’s sentiments was Dr Fred Matiangi, “We cannot plan effectively for our future needs without current and accurate data of our people. Without data we cannot know nature and trends of a particular disease and provide for its control” said the CS who was visiting the BPO Company for the second time this week.

According to Dr Matiangi, Digitization was no longer optional for government. “The missing link to complete the puzzle for excellent government service and creation of jobs for the youth as carried in the jubilee manifesto is ‘demand for digitization work” and the government is the only customer who can provide that work,” said Dr Matiangi.

The Ministry of ICT, Dr Matiangi said, will work through ICTA to oversee contracting of BPO/ITeS companies to digitize all registries and in the process create employment – that is killing two birds with one stone.

Already, the stakes are skewed towards local companies with the current procurement laws reserving 30 percent of all government contracts to be channeled competitively to the youth, women and the physically challenged.

Also present at the tour, was the MD of Digital Divide Data Ms. Amolo Ng’weno who demonstrated that Kenyan companies have the capacity and expertise to implement big ICT projects.  “At DDD, the youth employed get financial support to continue with their education whilst carrying out digitization services/work. Currently, Digital Divide Data has 300 employees and is targeting to expand to 5000 countrywide in the next few years,” Said Ms. Ng’weno

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The project is part of the Rockefeller Foundation Initiatives, which supports Digital Divide Data Kenya. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative was launched at the World Economic Forum for Africa, 2013.

The nearly $100 million investment is aimed at influencing the lives of one million people in Africa through job-creation for high potential but disadvantaged youth. It is being rolled out in six African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt.