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Improving Quality of care through Health System Strengthening: The IDH experience

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Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Kano is one of the many SIDHAS project supported facilities through funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IDH provides comprehensive HIV services to over 8,000 clients and as such one can erroneously assume that information and records would be inaccurate and incomplete due to the high volume of clients and inadequate manpower. But that is not our story at IDH.
When the implementation of the USAID funded SIDHAS project began in 2011, the excitement in the air especially amongst all stakeholders was almost palpable. But it was not all smiles for me. As the head of the hospital records unit at IDH Kano, I understood the mandate of the SIDHAS project was going to significantly expand the coverage of antiretroviral treatment services in the state.

This meant increased workload for my already overworked staff who would need to manually sort hundreds of case folders every day and that was really cumbersome. Furthermore, it meant that we would have to retrieve and file every single CD4 count result.
Completely unaware that the SIDHAS Project took this into consideration, I was stunned and elated when information reached me that my unit was going to be computerized. It wasn’t long before two (2) computers were deployed to my unit and almost immediately, a training session was organized for us on how to use the electronic medical records platform called “Lafiya Management Information System (LAMIS).” What impressed me the most was the ease with which I could process and generate any information I needed through the user interface.
Patient information in our facility is now digitalized, including laboratory investigation results, and it’s very easy to know who has been missing appointments. Gone are the long hours of waiting, missing files and wrong filing of clients’ documents. Client tracking is now done efficiently and with precision. With the success demonstrated by this system it will not be long before government adopts this innovation in all public health facilities in the state; and that gives me great joy. “Thank you USAID and FHI 360 for investing in our people.”

 

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