Imagine a woman in a remote setting needing to return to the nearest health facility for follow-up treatment receiving a reminder on her mobile phone or a patient needing the next prescription of her hypertension medication receiving this by email without the physical contact at a health facility. Although these may seem small, it makes a difference in improving equitable access to health care to remote and underserved communities without the financial ruin or impoverishment.
eHealth is a key component of achieving universal health coverage and can facilitate training of the health workforce, provide accurate and timely patient information through electronic health records, and improve the operations and financial efficiency of health care systems. The Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services acknowledged this when they launched the National eHealth Strategy for 2012-2025 on 3 December 2021. The country realized that digital health must be an integral part of its health priorities and that it will benefit the Namibian population in a way that is ‘ethical, safe, secure, reliable, equitable and sustainable’.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Honorable Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said that the rapid advancement in ICT has made it possible for the country to keep a finger on the pulse using real-time data to enable planning, resource allocation and ensure health security by strengthening disease monitoring and surveillance. He noted that the eHealth strategy is a transformative initiative that will enable electronic storage of medical records as well as change the way health-related information is collected, shared, communicated, and analyzed to improve decision-making and patient care.
‘It will allow healthcare workers to capture, access, and share patient information promptly across geographical and health sector boundaries using information and communication technologies that are fit for purpose securely and reliably. In this way, the eHealth strategy will inform the coordinated implementation of various initiatives to support the adoption of ICT in enhancing health care delivery.’ Dr Shangula said.
Speaking at the same occasion, WHO Representative, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, said that this will enhance health outcomes by improving medical diagnosis, data-based treatment decisions, digital therapeutics, clinical trials, self-management of care and person-centered care as well as creating more evidence-based knowledge, skills, and competence for professionals to support health care through digital transformation. He further emphasized the critical role eHealth plays in achieving universal health coverage and that the launch of the national strategy on eHealth demonstrates the Namibian government commitment to scaling up health care reach to marginalized populations while reforming the health information systems and offering new modes of health care delivery.
The Namibian National eHealth Strategy for 2021-2025 envision ‘a healthy nation enjoying a high standard of living and quality health and social services welfare enabled by eHealth. This strategy is aligned to the WHO Global strategy on digital health 2020-2025. The development of the Strategy was supported by WHO and the other partners. WHO commits to providing ongoing support during its implementation.
For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Mrs Celia Kaunatjike
Tel: +264 (0) 61 255 121
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Mary Brantuo
Medical Officer: Child and Adolescent Health
Fax: +264-61-204 6202
E-mail: [email protected]