Muzinda-Umuzi Hack For Health hackathon update

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The Muzinda-Umuzi hosted Hack  ForHealth kicked off early this morning on a low key as only a handful of techies turned out for the event. It is hoped that more will attend as the Hackathon gathers momentum (if you’re a developer, this event is for you so try to make it). Despite the disappointed attendance so far, the hackathon has opened a lid on the problems in our local health services sector and it will be interesting to see how the hackers who made themselves available will tackle these.

It appears the main challenge in our Health Services delivery system (not pandemics and diseases but “systems and processes”) is that the whole system is based on paper records which are difficult to not only analyse but to also access from one central database. Many people in Zimbabwe use multiple health practitioners and in most cases people, the decision is based on the nearest one or the least expensive one.

Ultimately, one person will have multiple medical records in the hands of several practitioners making it difficult for a well informed continuation of treatment.

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Micheal Matiashe, a representative from Hitrac, a health informatics company said the little computerised records are often incompatible, using different programs for different kinds of data, “even within the same hospital”.

Ironically, most digitalised data in our hospitals focus on demographics and the  money patients pay and not the patients health records for proper continuation of treatment information.

One of the Presenters, Ronald Munjoma,  said there was need for a national e-health system whose existence is largely in the hands of government taking initiative, to come up with an e-Health strategy (what are the chances?).

This e-Health strategy will help standardise deployment of technology in the health sector and improve efficiency is health service delivery.

Surprise surprise, not a single leading health company (from health insurance, health service providers, etc) pitched for this crucial part of the Hack to outline some of problems that local techies may attempt to solve.

Maybe they were not invited for this “open for all event”. Just shows how far we are from our dream ecosystem.

Anyway, the hackathon is ongoing until Saturday when the teams on show will present their solutions to the problems presented. Hopefully the ideas developed will be followed up on and possibly come to good use in our tech starved health service delivery system.

The Health For Hack is taking place non-stop until Saturday at 58 Alpes Road, Vainona Harare.

3 Comments

  1. ndiWasu says:

    As long as you host events like this during the week, you will be lucky to get more than a handful of real developers. Most talented developers in Zim are employed by Tech giants and even though we would love to come and contribute, we have to balance between that and maintaining our jobs – #fact. (A leave day is worth some money we can’t afford to spare at the moment)

    Anyway, great initiative, I just hope that one of these days you will hear my prayer and host an event like this on a weekend.

    1. tinonetic says:

      Also there’s this danger of prescription-driven as opposed to needs-driven solutions. Where as techies you stand up and lecture on what you believe they need instead of listening to them.

      When you also name an event a Hackathon,with the intention of hosting your intended beneficiaries,how on earth do you expect them to pick out or even consider coming?Throwing the world health in it will not guarantee their attendance.

      Learn from the failures of prescriptive approaches to solving problems. Google’s best. Even the World Bank has lessons learnt in funding or spearheading related initiatives.

  2. kuku says:

    what is the price money and is it open to any developer,i.e. windows & open source?

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