The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Electronic Tracking System

Government will soon computerise the database for people living with HIV and introduce electronic patient tracking. The computerisation is expected to phase out double dipping and ensure easy access of anti-retroviral medicine from any site.

Speaking at a consultative and planning meeting with People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Kwekwe on Wednesday, National Aids Council monitoring and evaluation director Mr Amon Mpofu said patient tracking was meant to improve the stocking system of ARVs at all sites. The system will be introduced next year and would ensure that every patient can access ARVs from anywhere in the country.

"We have challenges on the stocking and distribution of ART as some patients are collecting their medication from more than one site at the same time and creating personal buffer stock," said Mr Mpofu.

He said such action was causing an artificial shortage of the ART in several sites and this would be addressed by the computerised database. He said the new system would also ensure that the ART distributing sites maintain accurate numbers of people on ART in different areas to avoid over or under stocking during distribution.

The passports of people on ART would contain personal details, national identification number and general background of the patient.

This information would be updated constantly, he said.

"Having all the information of the ART clients in one database is also an advantage to us as it will help in saving resources," said Mr Mpofu.

He said the use of a database system would quicken the follow up process on patients who are on ART programme.

The country is using a paper-based system with too many registers, which are cumbersome in terms of data entry.

Mr Mpofu said the paper-based registration can not detect the cases of double dipping and is making it difficult for the sites to do follow up on the people on ART.

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