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The Diaspora, a valuable resource to Rwanda’s development

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

When you visit the Kigali university teaching hos­pital (CHUK), you find all the documents being pro­cessed, data entered, and many of the response provided through ICT tools and online methods. That is courte­sy of the Migration for Development (MiDA) program, which brings in Rwandan (and regional) experts from the Diaspora community in order to transfer their skills to compatriots in the mother country.

The objectives of the project in CHUK’s case, as ex­plained by Dr Martin Nyundo who heads the MiDA fo­cal point at the hospital, were a need to provide quality service to patients, and promote the quality of data and research. Capacity building was offered to the admistra­tive and nursing staff at CHUK, Muhima and Kibagaba hospitals, and in the field of medical computer applica­tions to improve management, research and networking between the hospitals.

The hospital acquired equipment and systems for managing data (20 PCs), and the staff attended training and research in medical information technology; basic computer skills, collection, centralization and analysis; management of internal and external communication; and workshops on medical ICT. A number of 348 em­ployees were trained.

An IT employee at the hospital who didn’t want to be named for professional reasons told The Rwanda Focus that when he started working at the hospital, they were still using paper patients’ files. “It was challenging be­cause it could take a long time to find someone’s file,” she said.

Since mid last year, that has become history – all the files have now been transferred to an electronic database.

According to Eugene Kandekwe, MiDA’s national coordinator, experts from the Rwandan Diaspora have helped in other programs including Ndera mental health hospital, Gihundwe district hospital, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, the Institute of Ag­riculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo), Tubi­teho program which consisted of daycare for mentally and sensory disabled children and the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).

At KIST, they organized a training workshops and postgraduate program on instrumentation for environ­mental and biochemical analysis. The program, which saw more than 40 employees trained, aimed at helping the department of chemistry to design and initiate a re­gional postgraduate training program in environmental and biochemical fields, training members of staff and students in applied chemistry department on the use, operation and maintenance of equipments; and ensur­ing reproducibility following internationally accepted protocols as well as good laboratory practices.

In Gihundwe Hospital in Rusizi, the experts strength­ened the hospital’s management system. “This aimed at improving the capacity of resource management (hu­man, material and financial resources) and improving the patient management capacity (patient identifica­tion, tracking and invoicing),” Kandekwe explained. At Ndera too, patient files were digitized.

While addressing the Rwandan Diaspora Convention in the USA in September 2006, President Paul Kagame remarked that “the Rwandan Diaspora is clearly a re­source that can make valuable contributions to our quest for a better future for our country. What needs to be done urgently is to devise means of utilizing this re­source.”

Parfait Gahamanyi, the director general of the Rwandan Community Abroad at the ministry of foreign affairs and coop­eration, reiterated that the Diaspora plays a vital role in their motherland’s de­velopment. “The Diaspora includes a big number of experts in various fields whose skills are needed by different staff and services here,” Gahamanyi said.

And they come cheap, because the MiDA ex­perts are doing the work for free. “In collaboration with MiDA, which is it­self sponsored by the Bel­gian government, we used to give the experts only airline tickets and accom­modation,” Gahamanyi stressed. “There are no salaries, but they came in a big number, and many more are still willing to do so.”

Source: Rwanda Focus

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