By Steve Wanyee on June 10, 2016

Supporting the government of Kenya's efforts

The Kenya Health Informatics Association (KeHIA) started 6 years ago by Kenyans and for Kenya, was born out of fundamental needs to play a more proactive role in supporting the efforts of the government of Kenya (GoK), to appropriately, wisely, and sustainably utilize information, communications and technology to improve delivery of healthcare services, affordably, and sustainably. 

To unpack that and moving away from all the technical jargon, the basic interests of this group was very simple and intended to presumably address the following interests;

  • How does the GoK know how to prioritise resource allocation in the health sector to specifically support adoption of ICT based interventions and solutions?
  • Is there adequate evidence to inform government and its partners on how best to implement HealthCare Information Technology (HCIT) in Kenya?
  • Do we have informatics specialists both in terms of numbers and skills, to guide adoption and implementation of ICT in healthcare?
  • Do we have a plan in Kenya to train students in colleges and working staff about informatics?
  • Health informatics is a well established profession, but does GOK recognize it? What will it take GOK to recognize this profession or is it stuck only on the health records and information profession? times have changed, but has GOK adopted to this change?
  • How do we support GOK develop and nurture this profession of health informatics?

6 years later

Here we are 6 years later and probably still asking some of the same questions. We have however made tremendous progress, and if nothing else, we can now see;

  1. Better awareness of what  health informatics is and what it can do for Kenya
  2. Increased resources have been spent and continue to be allocated to informatics interventions both by GoK through MOH and its partners. The MOH now has a fully fledged and staffed Division with clear focus and mandate to advance use of informatics interventions to support it achieve its goal and objectives as stipulate in the National Health Policy.
  3. Increased local informatics research generating the much needed evidence to drive innovation and resource allocation.

The question now is, so what next? where do we go from here? what else can KeHIA do to take this to the next level? how do I want to participate in this journey?