The New Times (Kigali)

19 August 2012

Rwanda: Technology for Community Health

Bugesera-The use of Information Communication Technology (ICT), has facilitated the work of community health workers in Bugesera District.

This was disclosed yesterday by Community Health Workers in Mayange Sector, while speaking to The Sunday Times.

Florence Mukagasana, a community health worker in the sector, noted that the use of mobile telephony to register, track and monitor the progress of pregnant women till delivery had reduced maternal death.

She said that use of ICT had decreased long distances mothers had to walk to take and receive information from health centres.

"It used to take me two hours to reach Mayange Health Centre...but now, in a matter of seconds, I send information and get feedback. We also utilise mobile phones to monitor progress during immunisation campaigns and mass distribution of mosquito nets," she added.

Felicien Rwagasore, health coordinator at Mayange Millennium Village, said the technology improved the health of communities.

He reiterated that ICT promoted the country's vision of an innovation friendly, sustainable, affordable and high quality healthcare for all Rwandans.

"ICT has the potential to impact almost every aspect of the health sector; strengthening health systems, disease detection and prevention. These are crucial in development and poverty reduction," he said.

Benjamin Rukundo, in charge of Data Entry Service at Mayange Health Centre, said ICT makes it easier to register information from Community Health Workers (CHWs).

He added that there were enough data clerks at the health centre to review reports from CHWs.

Morris Kwizera in charge CHWs program said that the system helped in efficient operation.

"We easily monitor the work of CHWs and assist them...it is made life easy, we don't need to move distances. ICT has indeed improved health of the vulnerable in communities," he said.

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