E-Health efficient but costly – WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked Kenya to tread cautiously in implementing the E-Health concept.
While admitting that the concept will positively alter services in the health sector, the body has noted that the technology will be very expensive to implement at the initial stages.
According to WHO health systems advisor, Dr Humphrey Karamagi, countries out to implement E-Health will face a huge financial burden.
“Though the implementation will be expensive, we expect service delivery and efficiency to improve and there is need to seek ways of covering this high cost,” he said.
The doctor said that WHO fully supported the concept but noted that with technology changing every day there was need to quickly embrace emerging ideas.
“Countries should not fear to innovate as we believe that the benefits of this venture will at the end of the day outweigh the risks,” he said.
Karamagi was speaking on Tuesday during the three-day E-Health workshop at Sopa Lodge in Naivasha, which is the first of its kind in the region.
Head of E-Health in the ministry of health, Dr Onesmus Kamau, said that the cost of treatment will drastically come down under the new venture.
He said that the concept ,which was in the infancy stage, faced various challenges like funding but was quick to note that there was great opportunity for growth.
“We expect efficiency in health services to rise by around 15 per cent and we are calling for more funding mainly to the ICT sector,” he said.
Kamau noted with concern that Internet connectivity and high cost still remained a major challenge in fully implementing the concept.
The CEO Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Dr Elizabeth Wala, was full of praise for the new technology, noting that it would revolutionise the health sector.
Wala said that the idea would help bring down the cost of treatment and improve skills among junior officers.
She, however, noted that the concept still faced hiccups such as acceptability by the old generation of doctors who were not keen to move with technology.
“With the rising cases of cyber-crime, there is need to make sure that the patient records are safe as we put in place regulations to control this technology,” she said.
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