Easing District Health Information Reporting through Mobile Technology
In March 2013, Koboko district just like other districts in West Nile was introduced to a mobile technology initiative – mTrac. mTrac enables health workers report on disease surveillance and ACT stock data every week using their mobile phones. Three weeks after a thorough training on how to use the mTrac system, Koboko district recorded a 93% reporting rate – an achievement that had never happened with the paper based reporting system. During the fourth reporting week, the district made it 100% reporting rate, which it has maintained up to today.
Health workers in various Health centers in Koboko have gladly embraced mTrac and this has made my work as a Health Management Information Systems Focal Person (HMIS FP) easy. We have been facilitated with Computers and Internet to enable us review, edit and approve surveillance and ACT stock data. With this, it takes me only five minutes to generate various reports, which are presented to the District Health Office as when they are required. I am also very happy that with mTrac, we no longer have to spend our airtime calling health workers to read to us the malaria cases they have recorded in a week as we can communicate cheaply through SMS on the computer dashboard. I have also been able to send SMS reminders to health workers to send in their weekly reports on time and other important communication through mTrac.
My appeal is to the system administrators to look in to the systems’ speed, which is sometimes very slow and discourages reporters especially if one needs to beat the deadline for the timeliness. Secondly to increase the numbers of characters for the free SMS such that a sizeable amount of massage can be send.
By Candia Charason, HMIS FP Koboko district