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News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

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Internet & technology

Rwanda: Improved health services through the use of ICTs

2007-05-11, Issue 303

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/internet/41372

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Rwanda's The Treatment and Research Aids Centre (TRAC) was this week internationally recognised for ensuring real time access of information on HIV/AIDS and Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) nationwide through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Speaking to HANA, Dr. Anita Assimwe, the Managing Director of TRACnet said "the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) awarded TRACnet for its efforts in improving the health of Rwandans through the use of information technology."

Highway Africa News Agency

The Treatment and Research Aids Centre (TRAC) was this week internationally recognised for ensuring real time access of information on HIV/AIDS and Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) nationwide through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Speaking to HANA, Dr. Anita Assimwe, the Managing Director of TRACnet said "the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) awarded TRACnet for its efforts in improving the health of Rwandans through the use of information technology."

TRACnet is a Rwandan web-based system that provides HIV / AIDS, anti-retroviral treatment monthly indicators and weekly reporting on drug shortages and stock outs, and case-by-case reporting of CD-4 test results.

Unlike many reporting systems, TRACnet accepts both phone and internet-based data entry. In Rwanda, internet access is limited, and an internet-only system would limit the reporting capabilities of specific centers.

With TRACnet, the fact that 85 percent of users input data via phone illustrates the importance of phone-based reporting capabilities.

Dr. Assimwe said TRAC has been using ICT to monitor HIV patients in Rwanda through this web-based project for the past 24 months now.

"Through TRACnet we have connected HIV patients in 134 health facilities currently offering ARVs. The web based system has been deployed in 50 out of 53 health facilities, accounting for 95 percent of all HIV / AIDS patients on ARVs in Rwanda," she said.

She also added that the benefits of working with TRACnet to date include, tracking key program indicators to identify trends and view program impact over time and allowing national decision-makers to quickly analyze and respond to time-sensitive information.

TRACnet is also working to expand the service to include prevention of mother-to-child transmission and counseling and testing modules that will offer laboratory features to more sites. It will be interfaced with clinical information systems and will potentially be integrated with the National Health Information System.

The award that TRAC won was under the auspices of the Technology In Government Africa (TIGA), a UN project through the Economic Commission for Africa that follows the impact of information technology in improving the quality of life in Africa.

TIGA awards are aimed at recognizing the work of African governments in the effective use of ICTs for public services delivery for the improvement of better services to citizens.

The aim of the ICT awards is to encourage the use of ICTs in the delivery of public services, which remains a major challenge for African governments, affecting millions of Africans, mostly rural citizens.

TRAC won in the category of improved health services through the use of ICTs, an award that recognizes outstanding achievements by teams implementing innovative projects to improve online and government e-services.

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