STAKEHOLDERS in the health sector have suggested the need for provision of Health Information Science (HIS) to bring efficiency in providing quick treatment to patients and reduce cost of care.
The government has a mission to establish and use a sustainable system of information and communication in the activities of the health sector by preparing rules, guidelines and procedures for running and managing IT in the health sector However, the efforts are still delayed in bringing the intended effectiveness due to the fact that the providers of statistical information do not have knowledge of all the information sectors in the field concerning health library, record keeping and IT.
The call was made on the day of the second conference of HIS at Mwanza College of Health and Allied Science (MWACHAS) where more than 200 participants met to raise awareness of its importance in the health sector in the country to bring efficiency in the field.
The participants in the conference that brought together health professionals, health colleges in the Lake Zone regions and employees from the Ministry of Health has come at a right time when the world is witnessing great success due to society using information communication technology at a faster rate.
The Principal of MWACHAS College Dr. Hyasinta Jaka said that the government recognizes that information and communication technology is an important tool in pushing development of any nation, especially in strengthening the service delivery system in the health sector.
She said that the development in Information and Communication Technology affects every sector and the government is obliged to ensure that the health sector is aligned in the correct use of this technology to increase productivity and efficiency.
Dr. Jaka said however, there are very few experts in the health sector with scientific knowledge of Health Information Technology, so the time has come for the nation to invest in that field by introducing such curricula in colleges.
The Health Information Science helps in speeding up the access to important information that can support the access to effective treatment for patients due to the existence of much valued information that are being stored. The conference had the theme “Application of innovative digital technologies to address health information challenges” whereby students, academicians, researchers, practitioners and stakeholders explained their innovation on how best practices encountered in provision of health information services can help improve the sector.
Dr. Jaka added that the System creates a friendly environment to help guide physicians to understand the best way to serve the patient so that he can recover quickly.
Currently, only two colleges, MWACHAS and Center for Education Development of Health in Arusha (CEDHA) have started to teach the curriculum of Scientific Information Services (HIS) at the certificate and diploma level. It was due to its importance that brought the reason for holding the conference to discuss its benefits in an effort to ensure that treatment is done quickly to save the costs of caring for patients.
The Director of Training, Ministry of Health, Dr. Saitore Laizer said that there is great importance for the HIS lessons to be taught so that the operator can do many activities in the information department in the health sector.
“Making the attendant have knowledge of the health library, scientific communication system and information management is important in accessing information when needed” said Dr. Laizer.
He said the ministry has already seen the importance of the studies, so he asked the students who are studying these studies to increase their efforts so that they can afford to do their jobs well as the government expects to hire staff of those cadres in the health sector. He said statistics are important in providing various parameters that are used to evaluate the health services provided and measure the results of those services.
In addition, statistics are important in preparing various plans, improving policies and helping in making various decisions.
The existing procedure for collecting health statistics depends on the various systems that exist in society, however, he said there are weaknesses in coordinating those systems, checking the quality of data, analyzing, interpreting and using data.
Dr. Laizer said that the government and stakeholders have made great efforts in establishing various colleges to provide health training but the number of colleges and the number of graduates as well as the quality of the training provided do not meet the expectations of society, population growth and technological changes.
Recently, our country launched an online training center for health workers that helps fight against various diseases, including Covid-19. The center was launched in July 26, 2022 by the Minister of Health Ummy Mwalimu in collaboration with the Director of the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky and the American Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Donald Wright at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
At the launch, Minister Mwalimu said there are eight centers and 272 other small centers that cooperate in providing knowledge to health workers in serving patients. She said centers help to get guidelines on how to provide treatment to patients and reduce referrals of patients for treatment to other hospitals.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Magret Mhando urged the Ministry’s Management to continue cooperating with the Internet Government Agency in carrying out its daily duties in order to be able to go along with the changes in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Dr. Mhando said this at a joint meeting between the Internet Government Agency and the Management of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. In addition, Dr. Mhando told the management that the Ministry should look at how it uses the Government Internet in its work and communicate with eGA on various issues related to IT in order to improve work efficiency.
“Every year the Ministry should provide a list of various IT projects and seek expert advice from the Internet Government Agency, also the Ministry should have the habit of holding meetings through video (Video Conference) to get information quickly”, said Dr. Mhando.
The IT Services Management Director Mr Benedict Ndomba said that the Ministry of Health has many systems that do not talk, so it is important to make those systems talk and exchange information to improve performance.
“Let’s use IT to be able to serve the public easily, efficiently and provide them with quality services on time”.
Therefore, looking at the importance of providing health information scientifically, our health colleges have every reason to develop HIS curricula so that we can have those professionals who will be able to provide health information early so that doctors and nurses can help them in the treatment of our patients,”. said Mr Ndomba.