Makerere University begins Tele-medicine services

Monday August 22 2016
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Jayesh Asher, the governor Rotary District 9211, doing video conferencing in front of two flat Television screens hanging on a wall at the Makerere University school of public health video conferencing room. The room is fitted with hitech video cameras, loud speakers and microphones that pick up the sound and picture of the person who is being consulted on any health topic and it is able relay information in real time. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE

Makerere University College of health sciences and the Rotary Club of Kampala North have started testing video conferencing equipment which was installed at the school to improve healthcare services around the country.

Speaking at the site inspection visit on Sunday, Bob John the head of ICT at the College of health sciences told the delegation from Rotary club led by Jayesh Asher the district 9211 governor that the video-conferencing equipment, is a distance learning community platform for health centers, medical workers, patients, students and lecturers around the country to access and exchange information related to health care provision.

“We created local area networks and supplied computers at health centers where we installed digital libraries. Even without connections outside, health workers can learn by distance learning,” he said adding, “A doctor can be seated here and he calls doctors from USA or Makerere University to discuss a case or a lecturer at Makerere university, can use the facility to supervise students in the field without going to the field,” he said.

He explained that students, nurses and doctors from upcountry who find themselves with difficult cases, can consult with senior doctors from Mulago hospital or foreign collaborating institutions for alternative opinion and deal with the case there rather than transferring patients to Mulago as is the case currently.

According to Mr. Jayesh Asher, this is among the best projects that Rotary International has ever implemented in an African country because the technology is able to deliver the latest information regarding healthcare provision to health workers in rural areas who need constant training to save lives.

“This is a project whose impact stretches to rural areas where health workers need these latest techniques to save every mother who is giving birth and save the child. In Tanzania it has worked very well,” he said.
Margaret Nakanjako Njeri the club president said as Rotary Club of Kampala North, they found this system in place but it was not working but what they did was to enable it work.
“We got doctors from Uganda and sent them to Dextral University in USA to study how the system there works and they came back here and set it up. We enabled it to work at the cost of $ 83,000,” she said.