As part of its policy to facilitate quick access to its services, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has expanded its use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
According to the Director of ICT in the Ministry, Daniel Murenzi, a new satellite system has been installed to monitor all ambulances countrywide.
In an interview with The New Times, Murenzi noted that under this system, ministerial officials are able to know exactly where an ambulance is and in case of any emergencies, instant messages can be sent to the cars.
“We have 90 ambulances in the whole country and more will be procured by June. It was therefore imperative to introduce such a system so that the available cars can be used effectively to manage emergencies,” he explained.
“Under this system we track the vehicles by number plate and hospital using the GPS and GRS technologies. This way, we are sure that those who drive them will not divert to personal programmes since it is easy to know details like, whether a car is parked and its exact location.”
Besides this ambulance tracking system, service delivery and access to daily hospital reports at the ministry has been equally improved.
Using demonstrations, Murenzi noted that unlike before, Ministerial officials are now able to view daily health reports from all hospitals and health centres countrywide by just a click.
“This is one of the best methods that officials are using to track health progress. If, for example maternal or child deaths are reported at any one of the health facilities, officials at those facilities give a detailed report as to why it occurred.”
Murenzi added that bureaucracy in the ministry has also been completely trimmed since the introduction of a new data tracking system.
“In a bid to render better customer services, the ministry has introduced a system that manages information sent to the ministry. Through this measure, people who send information are able know how far their documents have gone by just checking our website.”
Officials note that a few weeks after the delivery of cell phones to community health workers, health reporting by Short Message Service (SMS) has increased.
They added that in the districts of Kirehe, Nyaruguru and Musanze, training health workers using the phones has already started as a means of achieving health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).