Use of mobile phones provides alerts for emergences of outbreak in Rwanda
The use of mobile phones in Rwanda is been extended to healthcare . Mobile phones are used to provide alerts for emergencies of outbreak identified in any health facilities in Rwanda, due to interface of mobile telephone with Health Management Information system (HMIS). The Rwandan Ministry of Health (MOH) tends to reply on the use mobile phones to strengthen and coordinate its health information system.
Before the HMIS
In 2009, the Rwandan Ministry of Health had multiple systems to compile data from all the health facilities countrywide, but those systems were not full adequate and strong to facilitate data analysis and planning.
They were not interoperable. Each and every health facility had its own local database; the health center sent the flash drive to its corresponding hospital each month then after, each district hospital to central level to compile the data was not easy as there was no link between all of those databases.
A technology capable of making data transfer possible and able to connect with all Rwandan health facilities at the same time and interfaced to mobile telephones for emergence cases alerts management is required
Interfaced HMIS to mobile telephones
Now, with a clear, efficient system to gather, view, and analyze health data at every level, the Rwandan health system has the information it needs to adapt and quickly react to changes (outbreaks) in its community. It also has a more complete set of data to use for strategic planning and policy development due to HMIS. Relying on these data, strategies and policies are made to develop and guide the Rwandan health system for a bright future.
The HMIS has a very important key in health system management and a strong system for alerting concerning health providers to manage different diseases especially outbreaks.
In Rwanda, there are five satellite laboratories aimed at investigation, prevention and control of any outbreak which may be present on country borders as well as in country, The Ministry of health has 450 health centers and around 45 district hospitals in addition there are 3 referral hospitals, there is also some area of risk groups like refugees’ camps, all of these health facilities’ data are safely managed under HMIS.
When there is any outbreak identified in any health facility mentioned above, the system is able to send an SMS as an alert to different concerned people’s mobile telephones at all levels indicating the situation for better management of the identified case. There is a strong team at central level in charge of outbreak investigation, prevention and control.
Jean d’Amour UMAZIMPAKA
Medical Lab Scientist specializing in Medical Research and Laboratory Diagnostics in Rwanda. Passionate about technological innovations in medical laboratories as tools for point of care diagnosis.