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Showing posts from September, 2010

Signs of a Growing eHealth Sector in Kenya

Today I had this nice opportunity to partially attend a PEPFAR partners meeting at the Safari Park Hotel. I shall not assume it is obvious that PEPFAR stands for (United States) President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Kenya is said to be one of the countries with the biggest allocation of PEPFAR grants, largely through USAID and CDC. Every year, billions of Kenya Shillings are handled as grants from PEPFAR within the country, so much so that it is almost a sub-economy in itself. PEPFAR, essentially the philanthropy of the American People appears so immense in the health sector that the aid should ideally overflow to the ICT sector through eHealth. For more on related development dynamics see my earlier post on who really are our genuine development partners.

Over time, PEPFAR leadership may have discovered that it is not possible to practice philanthropy in the air - it has to be in someone's jurisdiction -  who needs to care that they Americans are being philanthropic. Al…

Part 2 of Insights from the 5th Annual OpenMRS Meeting

A couple of days back I wrote my first article on the  the fifth annual OpenMRS implementers meeting. Immediately after posting the article I checked my meeting notes and thought I would need to write on a few more insights that appeared equally profound. Consider this a continuation of the lessons I described in the earlier post.

Lesson 4. Open source is great; best with a global community
One of the big debates in many developing countries is whether to adopt an Open Source policy for their e-government initiatives. It appears key decision makers have began to appreciate the benefits of such a policy. However there needs to be further understanding that a mere application of open source technologies for development of government software systems is not enough. There is need to embrace the concept of open source from a global community perspective.  A software expert or two can sit with an health care expert and develop an awesome, robust, feature-rich EMR or Pharmacy system using ope…

Insights from the 5th annual OpenMRS meeting

Last week I had this great opportunity to be a participant at the fifth annual OpenMRS implementers meeting in Cape Town. The meeting brought together implementers, developers and the leadership of OpenMRS. The meeting was of the  'unconference' style and being relatively less experienced with OpenMRS,  I found myself simply following through the intense sessions, soaking up a lot of knowledge and insights. There were many lessons and great experiences including ideas on how to actualize the dream in my earlier post on adopting OpenMRS in Kenya. I shall try and describe three of them in this post - based on my personal synthesis.
Lesson 1: Clinical Systems Not Reporting Systems
During one of the evening discussions with Dr. Alvin Marcelo and a few others round a dinner table, I had this bulb light somewhere in my mind that 'Really, medical record systems need not be seen as reporting tools'. In fact, to some health care practitioners, that the medical records system assi…

Local content grants: Government information portal awards to firms first

This week there was much buzz about the Kenya 2009 census results, the on-going contest among our mobile networks, and other developments in the Kenyan online content space. What may have passed some of us in the midst of the noise is the announcement of one category of winners for the first round of Local Content and Software Applications Grant. As earlier mentioned on this blog, the initial processes of the grant had a number of useful insights if the ICT Board's post-application survey was to go by.

Applicants for the grant in the government information portal / firms category were announced on 31st August 2010. In this category, seven proposals were chosen from a list of 166 proposals by firms according to the ICT Board's press statement. The seven proposals were
Octopus Solutions Limited - HIV and AIDS in the workplace e-Learing Course - To assist implementation of the HIV and AIDS work place policy among civil servantsInfotrack Strategic Solutions Ltd - Teacher's Port…