The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched an electronic application (app) which allows health service providers to register and track clients using mobile devices.
Dubbed the “e-Tracker”, the android app provides an offline alternative to its traditional online web-based data capture and reporting tools.
At a ceremony to launch the app in Accra on Friday, 2,590 android Samsung tablets, which have the e-Tracker App installed on them, were presented by Samsung Electronics to the GHS for distribution to Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) zones in the Upper East, Volta and Eastern regions.
The introduction of the e-Tracker and the presentation of the Samsung tablet formed part of a comprehensive project dubbed: “Rollout of tablet-based e-Tracker,” being implemented in the three regions.
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The objective of the project is to solve problems of the health information management at the community level such as omission and errors of data entry.
The initiative is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Samsung Electronics, as well as Good Neighbours and Evaluate for Health, both non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Using ICT to drive health sector
In his address, the Director General of the GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah–Asare said the relevance of health information could not be underestimated, adding “without accurate, reliable and timely health information, the health sector ceases to exist”.
He said the tablets would contribute greatly to achieving the vision to use information communication technology (ICT) to drive the GHS to provide excellent health services and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to him, the devices will allow health service providers to register clients, offer services and follow clients according to schedule dates for the various interventions.
“Using the tablets with the tracker at the lower level by collecting individual records will ensure that aggregated data on services reported are accurate and can easily be verified,” he added.
He commended the implementing partners and appealed to them for more support to ensure that paper-based reporting systems in the health sector are replaced with electronic system.
Initiative is timely
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States of America Embassy, Ms Melinda Tabler-Stone, said the e-Tracker initiative was an opportunity to improve planning and budgeting for health management to increase government ability to obtain timely, accurate and complete data.
“Better management of health data will lead to improved response at the national level in addressing potential emergencies and epidemics,” she stated.
The need to replace traditional paper-and pencil methods in Ghana with electronic data capture, she said, was pressing, considering the fact that community health officers had to go through stress to collect data from clients.
In his remarks, the Korean Ambassador, Mr Sung-soo Kim, said: “There is no doubt that the project will go a long way to improve the health care system in the three regions of the Upper East, Volta and Eastern”.
He pledged the government of Korea’s support to the health sector of the country, saying that about $9 million was being provided by his government to support community-based primary health care.