African Care has a clinic in Somalia that supports especially pregnant women. Without the clinic, many of these women would not have access to health services. Yearly, the clinic supports approximately 1 000 pregnant women and 20 000 other patients.
However, the clinic had a challenge. They used handwritten registry books to record information about patients and to gather statistical information. This required time and capacity. In addition, they had noted that some patients failed to arrive to the appointment at the given time.
African Care experimented with the digitization of their health clinic records and creating an SMS notification system for patients.
The systems were set up as planned. The experimented solution is Bahmni Electronic Health Records EHR that supports registering patient records, laboratory tests and other health information.
The system enables quick and accurate access to patient information. It supports the clinic to diagnose patients more effectively, reduce medical errors and provide safer care. The system also enables interaction with the patients. Importantly, it reduces the cost of paperwork and improves safety and health.
There were also challenges. Firstly, the area’s internet connection is poor and secondly, the SMS platform requires stable connections. These issues were solved by installing the system offline in the local area network and by getting a separate SMS service from a teleoperator.
The solution is flexible to modify and deploy at similar health clinics that are using traditional paper registers. As the solution is a web-based system, it can be moved from offline to online at any time.
Still, there has been a need to upgrade the ITC infrastructure, develop skills and localize the system. In relation to these challenges, some of the staff have preferred handwritten registry books instead of the IT solution.
The solution was co-created with Clinic staff in Afgoye, Somalia, African Care and a developer from Meisour Global Solutions.