The technical adviser to the Ministry of Health, Botswana UPenn Partnership has recommended the new phenomenon of Mobile Health. This is a telecommunications driven Mobile Clinic, comprising the use of internet and telecommunication devices to facilitate health service delivery in Botswana and it is an idea that is already bought by the Ministry of Health.
This service of Mobile Health Botswana UPenn Partnership helps the Ministry of Health in the distribution of health service delivery with the use of telecommunications throughout the country. The Ministry, in turn, will help in funding the project of Mobile health and the provision of personnel where needed.
Mobile Health is expected to go into full operation before the end of this year as the companies involved in helping it to function, like mobile phone networks, are still involved in the tendering processes.
The Botswana UPenn Partnership will provide skilled specialists capable of diagnosing and consulting through the “cables”.
“Clients or patients are to use mobile devices to communicate with a health consultant or doctor, for example, taking a picture of the disease signs and then sending it to the doctor or specialist,” said Health Informatics and Telemedicine Coordinator, Kagiso Ndlovu.
He added that this new health service provision is more advanced and cheaper as there is no erection of new infrastructure for it to function. He said this would also benefit those in rural areas as they are far from adequate and top class health resources.
Ndlovu said this Mobile Health will enhance and improve health care service delivery as it can easily help in tracing, advising and consulting with the patients through telecommunications. He added that this new initiative by the health sector was done to take advantage of new technology and modern communication, which is becoming essential with today’s generation.
Ndlovu said, with this new service delivery system, people can avoid queues at clinics and hospitals when consulting health specialists and doctors.
Ndlovu said starting from 2008 they have been doing pilot programme with this new project and they are getting satisfactory feedback. He said the pilots done show the Mobile Health service delivery is going to be a success story as it is in other countries. He appealed to people in remote areas to embrace Mobile Health as it can assist them being far from access to health assistance.
The other product conceived by Botswana UPenn Partnership is a competition of idea generation and conceptualising by youth of Botswana called Youth Innovative. Youth Innovative competition is said to bring young fresh minds on board on how Mobile Health can improve and develop. Ndlovu said his office is open for ideas and suggestions as they have put a competitive mode for motivation purposes. The registration of this competition started on January 29 and ends on 15 March and it is sponsored by Botswana Innovation Hub, Ministry of Health, Orange, UNICEF and Cadline.
Ndlovu said as Health Informatics Services, they will also help with capacity building by involving the School of Medicine, HIS and the University of Botswana.
Without giving details, Ndlovu hinted that another product, Makgonatsotlhe, will soon be introduced.