Gov’t adopts phones for health initiative

KIGALI - The Ministry of Health has unveiled a new technology of using mobile phones to support public health, starting with support for Community Health Workers in mother and child health interventions.
Health Minister Richard Sezibera (R) consults with MTN COO Andrew Rugege during the meeting at Prime Holdings on Thursday. (Photo J Mbanda).
Health Minister Richard Sezibera (R) consults with MTN COO Andrew Rugege during the meeting at Prime Holdings on Thursday. (Photo J Mbanda).

KIGALI - The Ministry of Health has unveiled a new technology of using mobile phones to support public health, starting with support for Community Health Workers in mother and child health interventions.

The Phones for Health initiative is a unique public-private partnership which uses computers and mobile phones to establish a national electronic reporting system that eases delivery of public health care at the village level.

All health workers subscribed to this technology will be able to send monthly reports and emergency calls at no cost as a national method of harmonising health services.

Speaking at a one day workshop to discuss and provide input on the architectural plan and integration of mobile enabled applications in Rwanda’s National Health Information system, Health Minister Dr Richard Sezibera commended the development.

“This will help meet the broader information needs of the country’s health sector by improving coordination and communication. It’s an effective force multiplier against communicable and non communicable diseases,” he said Thursday, at his offices at Prime Holdings.

Sezibera admitted that combining biology and engineering will turn the health business into a communication institution which renders medication and healthcare delivery timely, precise, portable and personal.

He revealed that in most cases all that Community Health Workers demand during consultative meetings is transport and communication and that the initiative could never have come at a better time.

“We will do everything in our reach to avail computers and any other services where we operate,” Sezibera pledged.

Phones for Health partners include leading mobile phone operators like the MTN group, Accenture, Motorola and Voxiva.

Andrew Rugege, the Chief Operations Officer of MTN Rwanda challenged the public to quickly adapt to this new way of improving the working conditions of health workers across the country.

“As MTN we shall also go as far as it is necessary to build human capacity in Rwanda to make these strategies possible and successful because our best customer is a healthy one,” Rugege said.

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