By Evance Odhiambo                                   

Kisumu County has been selected to pilot a key national health transformation project that will see the digitization of information on community health services across Kenya.

The Electronic Community health Information System (eCHIS) will revolutionize the delivery of health care in the rural parts of the country. The system will enable  a Community Health Volunteer to register family members in his or her locality and their data and medical records will be available at local health facilities should they fall sick.

According to the Ministry of health, the project was anchored on the National Strategy for Community health digitization which seeks to strengthen health data management systems.

Presenting a justification for the project, a senior Ministry of health official Dr Maureen Kimani said the paper based old system was cumbersome, adding that the Community based information tools were often out of stock.

“There has been inefficient data collection, analysis and reporting. The paper based tools have also been costly, resulting in delay in timely data submission,” said Dr Kimani.

The project will see Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) supplied with electronic devices such as mobile phones to help eliminate the costly and rigorous paper work in public health facilities.

After the pilot phase, the government will spend Kshs. 5.2 billion to roll out the project across the 47 Counties.

Health officials and Prof. Nyong’o (fourth from right) during the launch

Speaking during the launch of the pilot project, Kisumu Governor, Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o who presided over the function, said the project was a big boost to the primary health care in Kenya as it will help address the inefficiencies that has dogged the primary health care.

“You cannot successfully provide health care without real-time data and accurate information from patients. This project will eliminate the use of exercise books by patients seeking treatment in health facilities,” said Prof Nyong’o.

Prof Nyong’o thanked Afya House for choosing Kisumu to pilot the project, adding that the County has just recently piloted the Universal Health Care Program, alongside five other counties.

“Universal health care can only succeed with date driven sound health care system. Without data harvested through a sound health care system, it will be like climbing a tree from the top,” said the Governor.

The Kisumu County Chief Officer, Dr Gregory Ganda said Kisumu has been chosen to pilot the project because of its robust health care infrastructure and interest to invest in Community health.

The County recently launched a health insurance scheme known as Marwa Kisumu Solidarity Health Cover for close to 90,000 indigents (Vulnerable families).