Evans Odhiambo investigated mobile healthcare solutions for rural Kenya.
Kenya has one of the most developed mobile technology environment in the developed world. According to Communications Commission of Kenya, the country has 88 percent market penetration of mobile phone technology and nearly 70 percent of Kenyan adults transfer money to each other via their mobile phones, the highest percentage of any country on earth. In many parts of rural Kenya, people are more likely to have access to a mobile phone than to have clean water, a bank account, or even a source of electricity.
Kenya as a developing country continues to struggle with universal provision of healthcare to its citizens especially the rural population. Lack of funds, corruption, security concerns and few health facilities in rural Kenya has led to challenges in healthcare accessibility, affordability, functionality and equality.
The study investigates these challenges and based on the findings, stipulates how the Kenyan government, healthcare service providers and consumers can use the available mobile health or mHealth infrastructure as a tool for improving quality of healthcare and reduction of costs in rural Kenya.
Remote Access and Monitoring: Rural societies in the country are served with poor roads. It is very difficult to access the health facilities in the rural areas as most of them are situated far away from the households. The situation worsens in case of rains as most of the roads are rendered impassable. More so, there are very few health facilities in the rural regions despite the ever growing population. mHealth would help solve the accessibility challenge and the cost of travel. Patients will be able to contact a physician, make appointments and renew prescriptions from the comfort of their homes.
Human resource challenge: Few health experts are willing to work in rural areas. The human resource crisis emanates from brain drain, personal security concerns and misuse of resources. The implementation of mHealth has the potential to allow few heath care providers to attend to many patients simultaneously
Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure is a very vital element in the effective implementation of mHealth in rural Kenya. It is highly recommended that the Government of Kenya will come up with appropriate steps to guarantee the security and integrity of patient data. Regulative and privacy laws are not clearly stipulated and data breach remain a high possibility. More funds should be channeled to the ministry of Health to improve the sector to a level deemed appropriate to accommodate changes brought about by the mHealth implementation.
Odhiambo Evans Andrew
Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Global Development and Management in Healthcare
Tel: +358-45-875 6827