Penplusbytes a non-profit organization driving change using new digital technologies to enable good governance & accountability on Tuesday 29th may organized a roundtable discussion on the topic “How Can ICTs support better Public Health Services in Ghana”.
Health care delivery in the public sector in Ghana has lots of critical components including patient management, disease control and prevention, diagnosis and treatment, health information systems etc. With proper information and communication technologies, health care delivery can be enhanced to reach required levels of effectiveness in Ghana. The team assembled for this discussion included, Seth Afagbedzi, Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Ernest Gavor, CEO of 233apps, developers of Moja App and Sam Quarshie, head of ICT Ghana Health Service.
From the discussion, many challenges that stood in the way of the full adoption and implementation of ICT solutions were identified, Mr. Quarshie said “these challenges were not only present at operational but also at technical and managerial levels of administration in the public health sector in Ghana”.
The discussion also focused on the development of a central database where all health records will be collated in order to facilitate accurate research and analytics in the health sector. This goal looks unachievable in the short term due to the level of bureaucracy and the lack of finance available to the Ghana health care delivery system. “It is important to note that Pharmacies are the major revenue generation points for health care facilities in Ghana yet, how many of them implemented any form of technology in the management of its activities” said Mr. Quarshie. The passion for the adoption of ICT in the health sector was evident in the contributions of the participants.
There are many challenges facing public health in Ghana but there are equally excellent policies and reforms capable of bringing sanity to the sector. The final brick needed to jumpstart the adoption of ICT solutions in the health sector is leadership. The sector needs a leader who can implement the already existing good policies. With this, Ghana will major strides in the public health sector.