By Malachie Tuyishime.
Rwanda will host the second East African Regional e-health and Telemedicine workshop coupled with a ministerial conference and International trade exhibition to foster telemedicine services in the country.
The workshop and conference will take place in Kigali since May 15th to 18th, 2018.
The event was organized by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) in partnership with the University of Rwanda.
It has objectives of “Harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation to transform Healthcare delivery and accelerate attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in East Africa”.
Speaking at the press conference in Kigali yesterday, Gertrude Ngabirano, Executive Secretary of EASTECO said that
“Given the importance that we think e-health has to the health sector, we thought it was a good time to revise this and have it more frequently and we want to see how we can actually improve services in the health sector by using ICT. The conference that will be attended by stakeholders from different health sectors and ICT which is the enabling sector and Education so that we ensure that they bring capacity building in this area of e-health and Telemedicine,” said Mrs. Ngabirano.
The sector researchers will gain a moment to present results of the researches and share experiences with stakeholders and practitioners of e-health and telemedicine.
“We shall also have policy makers from three sectors attending the conference. On the third day we shall have all the ministers, the minister’s health, we hope to have a ministerial round table where they will take concrete and concise decisions on what has come out of the conference. One of the things that we are looking forward to is policy and regulatory framework and see whether it is conducive to practice e-health and Telemedicine,” she added.
People from international organizations will be also at the conference to share experience and take their time to see where East Africa can move towards another level of utilizing ICT in health sector.
Prof. Nelson M. Ijumba, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at University of Rwanda said that this will be an opportunity to be involved in this conference to transform health sector by using ICT in Science and Technology.
“The University of Rwanda is involved in this conference because we host the center of Excellence that is organizing the conference. UR is a hoster of a number of regional centers of excellence some like this one, one funded by the ESA, we hosted another funder by the world bank, the others funded by UNESCO and other organizations, it is normal for centers of excellence to be incurred at universities because we share the same missions, in terms post-graduate lessons, training, research, and services.
He said that the university is able to support the center of excellence in number of ways apart from providing facilities and academic staff, Students are able to work between the university and the center of excellence.
“We are involved in the conference because it is also one of the platform of knowledge sharing between Universities and center of excellence. Students are able to publish papers and present them in the process of participating to the conference, they are able to network with others and this enhances the scholarship and energy creation which is one of the important objectives of the center of excellence and Universities,” Ijumba said.
Celestin Twizere, Director of the center of excellence in medical engineering and e-health said that the center is happy to organize this event on e-health and Telemedicine.
“This event is going to provide an opportunity to share experience between national, regional and global level on e-health and telemedicine, and this is really a good moment for the sector, for EASTECO to invite researchers working on e-health and telemedicine to see how the ICT can be applied in health and change life of people nationally, regionally and worldwide,” Twizere noted.
With the new digital era of smart mobile phones, telemedicine will help people get healthcare services from a medic doctor without moving from hospitals or health centers according to Twizere.
Various concerned officials in health sector will find how they can implement the results from research so that medic experts start giving healthcare service to patients from everywhere using ICT without moving.
The e-health will reduce cost of transport, health bill and time spent to get treated and get medicine as the medic doctor from district of referral hospital can commend the nurse who is helping the patient at health center in short time.
The system will be able to keep patient’s data and records. What is needed according to Ngabirano, is regulations and policy framework to be able to save these data.
During the first East African Regional e-health and Telemedicine conference that took place in 2010, countries agreed on regulatory frameworks to be discussed in the second one and they will see how to work on improvement with other international organizations that will put their inputs.
Ngabirano further noted that they will be looking on financial mechanisms to boost e-health.
Malachie Tuyishime @theinspirerpubl