USD125m invested in e-Health services

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

The Government of Malawi has announced that it has invested USD125 million in e-health for one of its major referral hospitals; the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital, Lilongwe.

The Government announced through its Malawi News Agency (MANA) that with the e-Health services in place, the health facility will by January this year start offering telemedicine and tele-consultation  services.

Already, the KCH ICT officer, Haward Namuku, told MANA that since the hospital already established a telemedicine centre some two years ago, health personnel are already utilising the facility.

Namuku explained that doctors at the facility conduct regular tele-meetings with medical experts from India. He says the initiative has tremendously improved their skills, since India is highly advanced in medical science.

It is therefore not surprising that Tixt pap Ticil, an Indian company, is the one installing the electronic network.

Namuku said while awaiting connectivity on the telemedicine and the tele-consultation systems, doctors from the hospital also attend sessions taking place in India.

“Apart from the doctors, students from Kamuzu College of Nursing and Malawi College of Health Sciences also come and utilize the facility,” Namuku said.

Pratamnu Majumder, Assistant Manager for the Indian firm, explained that all required equipment had been installed in the key departments.

“What remains is to connect the hospital through Government Wide Area Network (GWAN) to the Pan Africa electronic network,” he explained.

Once completed, Kamuzu Central Hospital would be linked with super hospitals in India and offer telemedicine and tele-consultation services.

Majumder said with the connection up and running, doctors in Malawi would be connected in real time with doctors in super hospitals in India for consultations on diagnosis and treatment for patients.

A major advance will be the ability for doctors in Malawi to perfrom surgery with the real-time guidance of specialists in India.

Majumder said why the initiative is important is that in the long run it will help government control its expenditures especially on referral cases.

Namuku said that in future the initiative will link all local hospitals where the referral health facilities will connect with its district hospitals where health practitioners will also be able to treat patients while right in the district hospitals.

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