Kisumu — Kisumu County has been picked to pilot a key national health transformation project that will see the digitization of information on community health services across Kenya.
The Ministry of Health has settled on Kisumu to test the ambitious Electronic Community health Information System (eCHIS) which will cost Sh. 5.2 billion once completed across the country.
The project is expected to revolutionize the delivery of health care deep into rural parts of the country.
After the pilot phase, it will be rolled out across the 47 Counties and will see Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) supplied with electronic devices such as mobile phones to help eliminate the costly and rigorous paper work in public health facilities.
Speaking in Kisumu during the launch of the pilot project, senior Ministry of health officials said the project was anchored on the National Strategy for Community health digitization which seeks to strengthen health data management systems.
Kisumu Governor, Prof Peter Anyang' Nyong'o who presided over the function, said the project was a big boost to primary health care in Kenya as it will help address the inefficiencies that has dogged primary health care.
"You cannot successfully provide health care without real-time data and accurate information from patients. This project will eliminate the use of exercise books by patients seeking treatment in health facilities," said Prof Nyong'o.
He said that as the Chair of the Council of Governor's Health Committee, he will fully support the initiative and will soon meet the Ministry of health officials to discuss its smooth implementation.
Prof Nyong'o thanked the ministry for choosing Kisumu to pilot the project, adding that the County has just recently piloted the Universal Health Care Program, alongside five other Counties.
"Universal health care can only succeed with a data driven sound health care system. Without data harvested through a sound health care system, it will be like climbing a tree from the top," said the Governor.
The Kisumu County Chief Officer, Dr Gregory Ganda said Kisumu has been chosen to pilot the project because of its robust health care infrastructure and interest to invest in Community health.
The County recently launched a health insurance scheme known as Marwa Kisumu Solidarity Health Cover for close to 90,000 vulnerable families.
Presenting a justification for the project, a senior Ministry official Dr Maureen Kimani said the paper -based old system was cumbersome, adding that the Community based information tools were often out of stock.
"There has been inefficient data collection, analysis and reporting. The paper-based tools have also been costly, resulting in delay in timely data submission," said Dr Kimani.
She said the roadmap for the projects starts immediately and will peak in 2025.
Through this system, a Community Health Volunteer will register family members in his or her locality and their data and medical records will be available at local health facilities should they fall sick.