The Ministry of Health and Childcare has received the digital repository machines from the University of Zimbabwe which will make all the necessary on demand health information on Zimbabwe easily available via the internet.
Speaking on behalf of UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura, Research and Academic Affairs Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Pedzisai Mashiri said the journey to envision this virtual repository started last year.
The digitalization of libraries and the aim of this digitalization is to consolidate the training and research needs of the health sector which relates to the mandate of the University of Zimbabwe of making information knowledge and research outcomes available to all health professionals and practitioners in the country,” he said.
Prof Nyagura said they applied a grant from US to fund the development of this repository.
“So when the University of Zimbabwe applied for a grant from the Americans particularly the US department of Global Aid through the US National Libraries of Medicine we decided to partner with the ministry so that we are able to make information and research results readily available to the remotest areas,” he said.
On the sidelines of the handover ceremony, UZ College of Health Science librarian Masimba Muziringa told journalists the digital repository covers critical health areas.
“The digital repository will be covering the core health areas with the aim of leveraging ICTs and technologies to make critical health information available for health workers in district levels and national level.
In terms of objectives, what we want to achieve, we are going to support evidence based information and also provide content which is locally relevant which support healthcare delivery in this country,” he said.
He added that they will upload the content onto the repository next week. “Then after the content is made available we will launch this at national level and later on people will be trained on how to access these resources and later on we will evaluate the value of using these resources in relation to improved healthcare outcomes for our people in Zimbabwe.
“The repository has been designed already. Content is already there. So starting from next week we will populate the repository with content. And at the end of the year we will launch the repository with content and clinical guidelines which will be on the mobile application,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, Health and Childcare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said this repository will go a long way in bridging the communication gap between government and the people.
“This is again a very big milestone for the ministry because you will find a lot of things are happening in the ministry and yet sometimes the population and even the universities do not know what is happening. Some of it is very good policy documents and you find people approaching me saying but you dont seem to have a policy on HIV yet we have got documents. It means that we are not communicating with our people,” he said.
“And we are now emphasizing universal health coverage which means you don’t look up there to the professors. Like you rightly said we want to look at the village health workers to see how they can access information and push it upwards. So it’s a bottom up approach. This digital repository for health is very key.”