1. To demonstrate the contributions of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation for health sector towards achieving Universal Health Coverage
2. Identify key challenges in e-health implementation and good practices
3. To outline possible scenarios for deployment of e- Health components
4. To present the opportunities of e-health and research
Theme: Transforming Healthcare through ICT and Innovation towards Universal Health Coverage
Obtaining universal health coverage (UHC) has been widely embraced in Asia and the Pacific. UHC is essential to inclusive growth, health security, and sustainable economic development. To achieve UHC, more resources must be mobilized for the health sector, and they must be used more efficiently and effectively. Use of ICTs will lead to greater efficiencies in use of resources and greater efficiency in service delivery, a significant matter when the 2010 WHO World Health Report revealed that 20 to 40 per cent of all health spending was wasted due to inefficiencies. Investment in ICT has the potential to reform health systems extend services to underserved areas, and reduce waste and redundancy.
ICT is key enablers of achieving UHC. They not only are a tool for better patient management, they also serve to transform the health systems parameters in increasing efficiency and accountability. ICT has the potential of reducing health costs to families, improve equitable access to quality services, efficiently link health systems with social protection programs and increase accountability and sustainability in health service delivery.
Maximizing on the available ICT platform therefore will accelerate achieving UHC. This is in remote areas with poor health infrastructure and workers. Applying lessons learned from experienced peers in the eHealth community of practice will help to rapidly implement solutions that work. The Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) is proving to be a dynamic peer to-peer assistance platform to successfully progress towards UHC with ICT. Measuring UHC with ICT-enabled monitoring systems can also enhance evidence based health policies and decision making with more reliable and sufficient data in formats and frequencies that ensure better health systems performance (WHO June 2015)
SDG Goal 3 is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and its target 8 is to “Achieve universal health coverage”, so that all people receive the high-quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. This presents an opportunity for eHealth to support a comprehensive and coherent approach to health and support integrated, people-centred health service.
Kenya utilizes about 6% of its GDP financing the health sector on delivering services through systems that are often inefficient, costly and lack transparency. ICT has potential of improving not just efficiency but also accountability (WB 2004). In human resource, the deficit of Kenya is large with 0.2 physicians /100,000 and 0.8 physicians /100,000 against the WHO recommendation of 2.8/1000
The Kenya E-Health Strategy of Kenya is anchored on the achievement of Vision 2030, whose overall goal in health is to have an “equitable and affordable healthcare at the highest achievable standard” to her citizens. Through e-Health, the health sector in Kenya envisions efficient, accessible, equitable, secure and consumer friendly healthcare services enabled by ICT. To actualize this vision, there will be needed to promote and deliver efficient healthcare services to Kenyans and consumers beyond Kenya’s borders, using ICT. (e-health strategy 2011-2017).
Kenya’s mobile penetration currently stands above 88% and 1 out of every 3 adults possessing a mobile phone. Unfortunately, these ICT gains have not been maximized in the health sector hence posing a challenge towards universal health coverage. Among the challenges in achieving SDG 2030 include-
- Insufficient skilled workers especially in remote areas.
- Shortage of drugs and Equipments
- Inadequate public information about preventable disease (NCD prevalence at 27% - MOH Kenya.
- Financial constrains
The key areas of ICT focus for Kenya include;
- Health Information Systems
- Information for Citizens
- E- Learning
E-health would help provide services to remote populations and underserved communities through telehealth or mHealth. It facilitates the training of the health workforce using eLearning, and makes education more widely accessible especially for those who are isolated. It enhances diagnosis and treatment by providing accurate and timely patient information through electronic health records (WHO 2016).
There is evidence emerging that ICTs can address challenges of maternal and child health and infectious diseases in rural Africa. mHealth interventions been piloted across the continent, for a variety of purposes including remote consultation, patient data management, referrals, supply chain management and health worker training.