GHANA IS on the verge of running one of the most digitalized healthcare systems in Africa, with many digital interventions scheduled to be fully nationally on stream by the end of 2024, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated.
According to Dr Bawumia, this has become possible due to the several digital interventions introduced since 2017, as well as the massive infusion of digital technology into existing operations, which has led to greater access to healthcare services as well as revolutionized healthcare delivery.
The Vice President made the disclosure while speaking on “The Role of Digitalization in Modern Healthcare Delivery: Recounting Ghana’s ICT Journey in the Fourth Republic” in Tamale at the launch of the National Health Insurance Authority’s ‘Active Month’ celebrations on Monday, December 5, 2022
“The Government of President Akufo-Addo since January 2017 has been at the forefront of providing improved public service delivery using digital solutions. One key area we have been pursuing aggressively is social and health services delivery to the population.
“The role of digital health solutions in our healthcare sector cannot be overemphasized. Over the last few years, we have embarked on digitalization drive in the health sector as a response to the World Health Organization (WHO) call for member countries to implement digital health interventions in their health systems to improve access to care and well-being for their populations,” he explained.
Outlining some of the digital interventions introduced so far, Dr Bawumia stated:
“Early this year… we launched a digital health solution in the pharmaceutical space, called the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP), where clients can use their mobile phones to order their prescriptions to be delivered to them at the comfort of their homes.
“This digital innovation is also meant to check counterfeit or substandard medicines and help eliminate them in our Pharmacies and chemical shops. It will also help the menace of drug abuse. The technology developer is currently engaging the National Health Insurance Authority on the technical and operational feasibility of the platform in the NHIS. We are also enrolling the top 100 pharmacies. Government is very keen on getting the platform fused into the NHIS operations by January next year. This will make Ghana the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have a nationwide E-pharmacy.
“Government has also introduced flexibility through the Lightwave Health Management Information System (LHIMS) and other technological platforms to manage electronic medical records without the use of printed booklets of patient’s folder and avoid the possibility of patients’ medical records getting lost.
“So far, 147 hospitals have been networked, including the Teaching Hospitals, such as Tamale, Cape Coast, Komfo Anokye, Ho and Korle-Bu, as well as many secondary and primary health facilities, making patient records available to all these facilities without the use of folders. By end of next year, we will have networked about 80% of all hospitals, and by the end of the following year, we will complete the networking of 100% of all our hospitals. This will make us the first country in Africa and one of a few in the world to have such a nationwide system.”
He continued: “Government’s introduction of the Zipline services in 2019 to improve medical supplies has expanded from one distribution hub to six hubs in the remote areas, making Ghana, home to the world’s largest fleet of medical-delivery drones.
“Zipline drones have undertaken 278,936 flights since their inception, making over 12 million deliveries, comprising of 8.63 million lifesaving medical products or medicines, about 1.9 million child immunization vaccine consumables and over 1.9 million COVID-19 vaccines and PPEs. It has also made very significant savings for the nation.
By Michael Ofosu-Afriyie