UAE, Estonian experts deal seeks to computerise Zim public hospitals

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By Idah Mhetu

THE United Arab Emirates government, in partnership with Estonian e-Health experts, has unveiled a hospital computerisation programme that seeks to improve operations within Zimbabwean public health institutions with Sally Mugabe Hospital (formerly Harare Central Hospital) set to anchor the pilot project.

Speaking during a tour of the hospital by Health Minister Obadiah Moyo and UAE/Estonia experts, the pilot project will start with Sally Mugabe Hospital where the needs assessment will take some six months prior to the digitalisation process.

“We all know that the UAE has been giving a lot of support in terms of accessing medicine and equipment,” said Minister Moyo, adding, “We are experiencing a lot of shortages in equipment, but you are coming due to our President’s positive reengagement exercise.

“On this occasion, we are very grateful that the team from the UAE, you have taken Harare Hospital as the first which means all your focus is on Harare Hospital.

“The Team from UAE have come together with some technical partners from Estonia. They are talking about fully digitalising Harare Hospital.

“They want to make sure that this Hospital is fully computerised, taking up a modern trends of operation, also making sure we have permanent digital records rather than manual data capturing of patients.”

Moyo also said Harare Hospitals had no computers and were in need of the modern communication technology adding that this was a huge chance for the government health institutions to get them.

“The (hospital) CEO has told me that they don’t have computers in this place, they are very, very manual,” he said.

UAE’s Foreign Affairs Director of development Cooperation department Rashed Al Hemeiri said they have had years of experience working with the Estonian Experts in digitalising their health delivery systems and would love to share the experience with Zimbabwe.

“We are here as continuous efforts of the UAE to support the Health sector in Zimbabwe. We are here together with the Estonian delegation to come up with a triangle cooperation between the UAE, Estonia and Zimbabwe where we think common interest for the three countries is the Health sector especially digitalisation of the health sector in Zimbabwe,” said Hemeiri.

However, Estonian Health expert Madiis Tiik said the full digitalisation of the hospital will take about five to six years to complete and it is a continuous process.

He said the project will have a very strong cyber security.

“The project will take about five to six years to complete and it is a continuous process that will require upgrading,” said Tiik.