How covid-19 accelerated digital transformation in the healthcare sector
By Lilian Kaivilu
Kenya is known for innovations in various sectors including business, health, agriculture and governance among others. Mobile money platform Mpesa has put Kenya on the global map with millions of Kenyans using the mobile application.
When covid-19 was first reported in Kenya in March 2020, physical contact was dreaded by many. Some opted not to visit health facilities as they were seen as points of covid-19 transmission. Even pregnant mothers feared going for the regular antenatal hospital visits for fear that they would contract the virus.
The fast spread of the covid-19 virus saw a transformation in the use of digital platforms for healthcare. In this article, we sample some of the digital innovations that were necessitated by, or have made healthcare access easier amid the corona virus disease.
- Covid-19 self service portal
With the ongoing covid-19 vaccination, the process could have been more difficult were it to be done on paper. Tracking the vaccination numbers would even be more difficult. However, the Ministry of Health covid-19 portal allows users to access their vaccination data from anywhere using their digital devices. From the portal, users can register for the vaccination, check their next vaccination dates, print their covid-19 vaccination certificate and verify the same.
- USSD option
For Kenyans without smart phones, getting help with covid-19 has been made even easier. By dialing *719# or calling the 719 number, one is able to access the Ministry of Health coronavirus information centre. Here, they can get information on covid-19, how it spreads, misconceptions and facts, signs and symptoms, information on self quarantine and prevention measures among other covid-19 related services by the Ministry of Health.
Apart from obtaining the general information on the virus, the #719 USSD connects one to a health officer from their county. The app serves both English and Kiswahili speakers.
- Damu Sasa
Blood donations remain a key part of the healthcare system, not just in Kenya but also in other parts of the world. In Kenya, demand for blood still remains high and the need for blood rises each day. Damu Sasa is a blood donation management system that allows for safe blood sourcing, transfusion and inventory management. Besides, this platform collects relevant data that enables policy makers in the health sector make informed decisions in matters blood donation and transfusion.
- My Dawa
With movement restrictions and fear of contracting the covid-19 virus, many people now opt to stay home, shop online and where possible limit interactions with others. But in a bid to stay healthy and still buy essential items like medicine, My Dawa app has come in handy to enable Kenyans place and receive orders at the comfort of their homes. The app allows users to shop for, and order for medicine and have them delivered within four hours (in Nairobi) and 24 hours in other parts of the country. Where necessary, the user is required to upload a copy of the prescription as they place the order.