Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health On Course To Fully Deploy Paperless System By December 2023

Impilo, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system which is currently being rolled out in Zimbabwe’s health facilities, is set to improve efficiency in the health sector through enhancing data collection, management, patients’  care as well as improving communication between health practitioners and patients.

By Michael Gwarisa

Briefing Journalists in Kadoma during a Results Based Financing (RBF) model for healthcare media sensitization meeting, Dr Robert Gongora, the National EHR Coordinator in the Ministry of Health and Child Care said their priority as is to accelerate the rollout/coverage and usage of electronic systems throughout the entire healthcare sector.

The ministry has a clear intention to embrace digital platforms health information systems as a key component for health sector reform. On July 13, 2020, that intention was backed up by the creation of a health informatics and data analytics directorate and there is a project which we call Impilo. The intention is to roll-out this system across all facilities by the end of 2023. That is actually a priority at Central Government level,” said Dr Gongora.

The roll-out of the Impilo will be supported by key specialized systems like the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), the Logistics Management System (eLMIS) and DHIS2. Having developed a solution for EHR – EPMS integration, the MoHCC is set to implement it across all EPMS sites as part of EHR rollout.

He added that as a ministry, they use a lot of systems to collect data, manage data, managing logistics, managing commodities, managing the lab or testing prices, communication, communicating by sending messages to the population, treating patients and the system will go a long way in bringing efficiency to the healthcare sector.

“We are also expanding various call systems to manage our health information, putting together our aggregated systems so that we can analyse and report using a system called the DHIS2 for management of logistics.”

Through the system, there is set to be harmonisation of procurement of equipment and hardware in the healthcare sector to deal with healthcare fraud and corruption. Consultations are advanced on the development or adoption of an identity management solution or of a health specific Unique ID as mandated by the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill which will soon be signed into Law.

“We want to shift from using paper to electronic health systems and we also want our workforce to adapt to that change. We then collaborate with others technically in the country and other organisations. We will not attempt to do it on our own. We also intend to invest in power back up facilities as well as internet connectivity. This is already happening and by the end of this year, more than 1,500 health facilities will have internet connectivity,” said Dr Gongora.

Porgrams that have already used the Impilo platform include the RBF program where the platform is being used for the Registration, care and verification of pregnant mothers. Enhanced data collection and management through support for the Impilo, our health information management system DHIS.

Meanwhile, the MoHCC has finalized a Digital Health Strategy which is now awaiting a launch and distribution. The Strategy is expected to guide digital health implementations going forward.

A key priority going forward is the setting up of Telemedicine/Telehealth capabilities initially for multiparametric telemonitoring of COVID-19 patient management through the setting up of virtual hospitals.



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