Healthcare facilities in remote parts of Kenya face the challenge of equipment exposing health workers to cross contamination risks due to lack of an aftercare system.
The exposure at hospitals may result from accidental pricks by contaminated needle sticks, cuts from soiled surgical blades or blood splashes from HIV infected patients.
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Hello friends! We are back with a special after office hour series for you. This month we are celebrating all things health and well-being! To celebrate the theme, our upcoming ‘After Office hours’ session will be held on the 20th of April at our Westlands Garage with Dr Cathy Mwangi from MHealth, the 2014 ICT “woman of the year” winner, as our distinguished speaker.
Dr. Mwangi PhD is the CEO of mHealth Kenya where they manage and develop mobile applications for the health sector. mHealth Kenya are leaders in project development, consultancy, implementation and evaluation within the framework of public and private partnerships related to donor funded systems. If she doesn’t already have enough on her plate, Cathy is also a lecturer at Strathmore University and sits on the Board of Directors of Morris Moses Foundation. With over 21 years of experience in business healthcare management and mobile technology solutions for organizations in the United States and Kenya, Dr Mwangi is a force to be reckoned with as she tackles the utilization, implementation and success of mobile technology to improve impact of health care and treatment in this Country.
Join us on the 20th of April from 5:30 pm as she shares her amazing story, lessons learnt and best practice for scaling these initiatives and the impact mobile devices have in business…We cannot wait! Get your tickets here!
This means that more than 130, 000 health workers — doctors, nurses and other medical personnel — are at risk of the virus.
An HIV/Aids screening test during a past World Aids Day. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
- A survey shows that despite the risk of exposure, “access and adherence to post-exposure prophylaxis (to prevent HIV infection) was sub optimal amongst the health workers.”
- One recommendation to stymie the spread of the disease, is that all babies born by an HIV mother will be tested at birth to ensure the child is not infected and if they are, put on treatment immediately.
- Another is that people who are HIV-negative but are at “constant risk” of the virus can now take antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV infection.
- The e-mobile app targets public hospitals, especially in the remote areas to ease procurement of medical supplies from Kenya Medical Supplies Authority.
- The system eliminates the red tape that slows down ordering of the supplies at the grassroots, ensuring health centres are well stocked and avoid cumbersome paperwork.
Medical supplies agency has revamped its e-mobile application meant to ease service provision to local hospitals, in a fresh attempt to woo counties to adopt the platform.
The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) had launched an earlier version in 2013, but its roll-out stalled following the devolution of healthcare services to the counties.
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Mobile solutions are reshaping various sectors in Kenya and are taking root in the new age of communication. With the rapid advancement in mobile technologies, the health care industry has not been left behind.
Mobile technology is helping to enhance the delivery of health services and communication between public health systems, medical services providers, and patients. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there are now over 5 billion wireless subscribers; over 70 per cent of them in low and middle income countries. The GSM Association reports commercial wireless signals cover over 85 per cent of the world’s population, extending far beyond the reach of the electricity grid.
In a country where the doctor to patient ratio is an alarming 1: 100,000, the need for innovation in the health sector is critical if hospitals and clinics are to offer quality services. Lack of communication among health care providers tends to be extremely frustrating, especially to patients and caregivers and this is where mobile health (mHealth) technologies comes in. mHealth innovations seek to bridge the gap in communication between doctors and patients and to put health services within reach of the public. It also utilizes mobile technology to increase access to and quality of health care services.
mHealth Kenya is a pioneer of mobile health technologies and initiatives bringing together a team of experts with a diversity of knowledge, experience, and a deep understanding of the health sector.
Dr Cathy Mwangi the CEO mHealth Kenya boasts a wealth of experience in developing, managing and implementing health information systems in the US and in Kenya. She has assembled an experienced team of experts in health information systems, health projects design and implementation, mobile and network communications technology backed by a strong experience in program funds management.
With mobile phone penetration in Kenya now at over 80% and rising, Dr Mwangi says mHealth Kenya will seek to leverage on this growth to improve the quality and access of health care services.
“mHealth seeks to cut the cost of providing healthcare, it maintains and improves the quality of care, reaches patients in even the most remote locations and unburdens the healthcare system by relegating part of the care to mobile communications.” says Dr Mwangi. mHealth Kenya has risen to be at the forefront of facilitating improved public health through use of mobile technologies. “In all our projects, our principal partners have been the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Foundation and the Ministry of Health through its relevant departments. We have been the Ministry of Health-preferred mobile technology partner, a relationship that has been built over the last 3 years and is documented by the successful delivery of the various platforms” said Dr Mwangi.
“mHealth Kenya basically develops mobile technology solutions and also works hand in hand with partners who develop mobile applications so as to synergize technology to be used within the public health system. “Several mobile service providers and individuals have created new innovations in an effort to improve patient and health care efforts and we have worked closely with them to initiate and roll out such projects. mHealth Kenya in this regard helps to improve access and quality while providing dramatic innovation and cost reduction opportunities,” says Dr Mwangi.
The firm has partnered with the government, non-government organizations and private institutions like Safaricom, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), and Clinton Health Access Initiatives (CHAI) among others. These partnerships and collaborations have borne several innovations that have increased access and quality of health services. Some of the innovations that have been developed and implemented by mHealth Kenya include mPEP Care System, Text for Life System and KEMSA eMobile.
mPEP (mobile Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) Care was developed in Kenya in 2013 to reduce risks of health care workers contracting infectious diseases such as HIV through occupational exposure, such as a needle-stick injury. Using the mPEP system, follow-up care for health care workers who have been exposed to an infectious disease is managed largely through an automated phone system which sends text messages to potentially infected caregivers, alerting them to upcoming appointments and reminding them to adhere to their medications.“The mPEP initiative is just one in a series of technology-based efforts mHealth Kenya is using to reshape public health in Kenya. It is an interactive system that reminds health care workers when they should go for their tests and when they should pick up their emergency kit or medication. This system compliments the manual process of recording,” says Dr Mwangi.After its initial rollout, there were many lessons learnt and the system is being enhanced and improved before the next phase of implementation.
Text for Life
Another application initiated by mHealth Kenya is the Text for Life (T4L) system, an SMS-based platform that allows blood donors to receive messages about their donation and testing status and also add themselves to the system. This system was developed in partnership with the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services, Bloodlink Foundation, CDC Foundation and Intellisoft Consulting through funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Developed in 2013, T4L is helping to tap into a blood donor base in Kenya, a country where donating blood is not a common practice.“While all donated blood is screened for infectious diseases like HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis A and B, for years blood donors never knew where to collect their results and also
those donating blood were typically not notified of their status. Addressing that need, Text for Life uses text messages to notify all blood donors where to see a health professional for their results, counseling and also medication. The system also alerts blood donors to the need for additional donations, either through repeated shortages or when a severe emergency crisis occurs.”Dr Mwangi says the service has so farrecruited almost 100,000 people and the number is growing.
KEMSA eMobile is a service that tracks medical commodities right from the time of order to delivery. The technology behind KEMSA eMobile enables public health facilities to order and track medical supplies directly from KEMSA through mobile phone, enabling a more efficient and effective distribution of essential medical supplies.
“Having worked with various partners, priorities are not always aligned, scope and project timeline usually contradict, plus the need to develop applications that need to be integrated with others is not easy. Also getting technical individuals to integrate poses yet another challenge,” says Dr Mwangi. She says other applications are under development and will be launched soon. mHealth Kenya has been interacting with health care workers in medical institutions for recommendations on how to improve mobile health technologies by identifying problems and constantly evaluating outcomes and incorporating discoveries.
“We hope to grow mHealth Kenya and connect with more partners and academic institutions to increase our capacity. The beauty about mHealth is that the resources are right here with us in the country and mHealth plays a very key role in E-Health in Kenya.”
Dr Mwangi won the 2014 ICT Woman of the Year Award for embracing and supporting ICT in mobile health initiatives. mHealth Kenya received and 2 awards for the Best Use of ICT in the health sector during the 2014 and 2015 ICT Value Awards by the Information Communication Technology Association of Kenya (ICTAK) and the Plus One Award during the 2015 CIO 100 Annual Award Competition in the Health Sector category
The 14th of August 2015 saw mHealth Kenya launch its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, an event that also doubled up as projects knowledge transfer from CDC Foundation mHealth Kenya to now, mHealth Kenya. The strategic plan marks a significant milestone in the use of mobile technology for more efficient health care delivery in the country.
CDC Foundation has nurtured mHealth Kenya and given it wings to fly higher. mHealth Kenya is now an independent organization which promises to work together with its partners and other mobile solution companies to provide quality health care services to every citizen.
Among the guests who attended the colorful function include Dr. Martin Sirengo, Director of NASCOP, Dr. John Munyu, Chief Executive Officer, KEMSA, Dr. David Soti, Head of Division of Health Informatics and M&E, Dr. Tom Oluoch, Deputy Branch Chief, SI CDC Kenya, Dr. Lyndon Marani, mHealth Kenya Board Chair, CDC Foundation’s Associate VP of Programs Dr. Linda McGehee and VP of Programs Verla Nesland among others.
The event took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi.