ICT wizards in the Ministry of Health and Child Care from all the four corners of Zimbabwe gathered recently in Chinhoyi to deliberate and strategize on developing a strong digital health roadmap that will drive meaningful ICT-led interventions to deliver sustainable and positive impact on the nation’s health outcomes.
World over, digital innovations have already transformed the way humans interact and Zimbabwe has not been left out. Currently the nation has over 4.81 million internet users with an internet penetration that stood at 33% in January 2020 a figure likely to have increased sharply with the setting in of the Covi-19 Pandemic.
Speaking at the workshop the ICT Deputy Director, Trymore Chawurura said, “It is these revolving dynamics in this fast moving technological age that necessitates us to harness these technologies as an important resource for our health workers. Timely collection of correct and reliable data is key to inform evidence-based decisions as well as support other functions to improve health care service delivery.”
After successfully coming up with its own ICT Policy document in 2018, the MoHCC is stepping up implementation of its provisions into strategies, activities and timelinesfor the next five years from 2021-2025.
“The Ministry has for a long time battled with controlling how partners introduce information technology into its structure and this is mainly because appropriate strategies were not in place. It is envisaged that the Ministry will benefit immensely through a well formulated strategy”, Chawurura added.
Chawurura further said that, “This move shall avail the necessary leadership and direction in the development of Digital Health solutions and services to support the MOHCC while ensuring the security and privacy of all ICT infrastructure, systems, electronic data and information in the Ministry.”
The 2021 -2025 eHealth/Digital Health strategy is set to enable MoHCC to plan ahead and communicate the way forward to partners in terms of digitising health service delivery and to enable Zimbabwe to meet its obligation of Universal Health Coverage before 2030.
“This is an advent of a new era for us, it will create an appropriate enabling environment to support the emergence, survival, and sustainability of innovations in the digital health space right to the grassroots level. We are also looking at a window of opportunity for an effective impactful Public-Private Partnerships in the country’s digital health space,” added Chawurura.
The MoHCC through the ICT Unit managed to come up with an all-encompassing ICT Policy in 2018. The policy deals with different areas in ICT for the Ministry which are relevant and applicable to the current and future technological context for the Ministry. This policy was developed in close collaboration with the parent Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services and it extracts its direction from the nation’s ICT Policy.