All district hospitals to be connected in 2008

KIGALI - Rwandans will have improved access to healthcare services after the installation of internet links to all main hospitals, the director of National e-Health Scheme, Dr Richard Gakuba, has said.

KIGALI - Rwandans will have improved access to healthcare services after the installation of internet links to all main hospitals, the director of National e-Health Scheme, Dr Richard Gakuba, has said.

Dr Gakuba says that major hospitals in all districts in the country will be equipped with better internet connection next year under the e-health scheme.
The US’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Global Fund are jointly financing the scheme, he said.

“We expected it (e-health scheme) to boost internet access for district hospitals which is yet a stumbling block,” Gakuba said over the weekend.

He said the limited internet access and its slow pace are affecting the implementation of the e-health scheme, meant to help Rwandan medical experts exchange health information with their overseas counterparts.

About the required quality updated health information, Gakuba cited Health Management Information System (HMIS) as prioritised internet system to help in that regard.
The HMIS, he explained, will enable district health officials to regularly supply the Ministry of Health’s databank with updated information about health situation in the country.

Gakuba said that the satellite supplied internet, currently being used, has affected the e-health information exchange system with two US universities of George Washington and New Jersey.

He said that the use of fibre optic cable network, which is not yet connected beyond the national boundaries, is an optimised hi-tech set up to solve such internet obstacles.

The optic fibre network prioritised to link Rwanda to the globe has successfully enabled the execution of e-health services between the three main national hospitals.

King Faisal, Butare and Kigali Central hospitals have the online health video conferencing system undertaken through Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN).
The VLAN is part of the e-health scheme launched in March this year to allow medical practitioners conduct their health services via online.

The plan, hatched in 2003, had been put on hold to have trained staff, which Gakuba said is a prerequisite to handle this new technology.
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