Uganda: Government Embraces Open Source Electronic Medical Records System

Emmanuel Ainebyoona | All Africa | December 10, 2016

The Ministry of Health has introduced an electronic medical records system to, among other things, track patients' history countrywide. The system targets patients who visit both public and private health facilities around the country. Under the new initiative, an individual's medical information can be electronically shared from one department to another while observing confidentiality. The government has started with HIV/Aids patients, but will later enroll it to all clinical aspects of medicine to boost the referral system.

Dr. Sarah ByakikaCurrently, the Health ministry is working closely with Makerere University School of Public Health to customise and adopt the Open Medical Records Systems (OpenMRS) in more than 425 health facilities. On Tuesday, while speaking at the opening of the OpenMRS international conference happening in Kampala, the assistant commissioner of planning at the ministry, Dr Sarah Byakika, who represented the Health minister, said government plans to roll-out OpenMRS in 1,000 health facilities by the end of 2017.

"This may seem like an ambitious target, but we have implementing partners who are doing a great job to have this target achieved," Dr Byakika said. She added that the conference contributes to improving health service delivery through improved electronic information systems. Dr Paul Biondich, who is one of the developers of the OpenMRS application and also an associate professor of pediatrics at Indiana University in the United States, said the conference is aimed at the implementation of the new electronic medical system in about 26 participating countries...