E-Government for Health Facilities in Africa

E-Government for Health Facilities in Africa

Paul Macharia (National AIDS and STIs Control Programme, Kenya), Davies Kimanga (Health Information Systems, Kenya) and Onesimus Kamau (e-Health Unit, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8756-1.ch045
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Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) face healthcare worker shortages, skill mix imbalances, and maldistributions; there is concern in their quality and productivity. Africa's infrastructural developments also are way behind the rest of the world, and this gap is widening. Scalable, cost-effective, and long-term strategies in healthcare services are greatly needed. This chapter explores how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) could play an important role in improving healthcare. Components of e-health, an emerging field in medicine, clinical care, and public health are discussed. The role of m-health is explored, identifying the benefits of integrating mobile phone technologies in healthcare. To meet the health financing deficiencies, the chapter also explores how Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) could drive healthcare professionals' productivity through increased workplace flexibility.
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Human resources to provide healthcare in low and middle income countries are in very short supply, WHO estimates a deficit equivalent to about 2.4 million doctors, nurses and mid-wives worldwide with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over two thirds of this deficit (Anyangwe & Mtonga, 2007). There are also very serious concerns about the quality and productivity of this workforce (Hongoro et al, 2004). Most African Countries are faced by worker shortage, skill mix imbalance, maldistribution, negative work environment, and weak knowledge base (Chen et al, 2004). This health workforce is also under assault by HIV/AIDS, out-migration, and inadequate investment affecting the capacity to delivery healthcare in an equitable way (Stilwell et al, 2004).

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