SolidarMed pushes E-health hackathon initiative

By Anymore Magawa

MASVINGO – Non-profit health organisation SolidarMed last week organised an E-health hackathon at Charles Austin Theatre where various issues were raised and discussed under the theme, ‘Strengthening Health Service Delivery Through Digitalisation’.

The E-health hackathon is a community-driven initiative meant to help drive digital solutions by strengthening the country’s health systems through digitisation and technology.

Speaking at the event, SolidarMed programmes manager Ronald Manhibi said there were many gaps in the health systems of many African countries and the E-health hackathon was aimed at helping to bridge the gap.

“In low and middle-income countries, health systems seem to be lagging behind for many reasons so the E-health hackathon employs information technology and health experts to make a difference,” said Manhibi.

The initiative explores the health problems that Masvingo community faces and identifies trends to address those problems through a social network platform called Inyasha (Iyi Ndiyo Yedu Aid and Support Health App) which SolidarMed developed specifically for that function.

The application is now used in hospitals like Silveira, St Antony’s Musiso and Mashoko mission hospitals in Masvingo province.

Masvingo Provincial Health Director (PHD) Amadeus Shamu praised the initiative which he said should be supported and developed further.

“In many countries health care services are data-driven so we encourage local health experts and computer experts to interact in their full capacity to enhance vibrant health systems. Technology amplifies people’s intentions and voices, it activates local agency and utilises local capacity,” said Shamu.

Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) philosophy lecturer Professor Munyaradzi Mawere said it was critical for people to think about challenges in the local health systems and be able to appreciate E-health solutions.

“We need to understand African culture and see how E-health initiative can be employed as an intervention against all diseases including the Ebola which is prevalent in Central and West Africa.

Mawere touted Zambia as a success story of E-health interventions, saying the country had developed a national E-health record system called SmartCare.