Through the National ICT Policy, the government of Uganda considered the incorporation of ICTs into the health sector. ICT tools include mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc. The Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s 4Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP) III, also embraced ICT as a key tool for enhancing the quality of health care service delivery, and Health Sector ICT Policy, Strategies and Action Plans have been developed. The following are the positive effects of using mobile phones in health service delivery of Uganda.
- In Uganda one can now verify a clinic or a medical professional by typing the doctor’s name or clinic’s name and location in a text message and send it to 8198. The service will then reply with the doctor’s or clinic’s full name, registration number, qualification, and license status, permitting users to make more informed decisions about their health care.
- Using mobile phones health workers can communicate to and monitor remote areas.
- Diagnostic and analytical health applications and tools such as reference material and a calculator for determining drug dosage can be installed into the phone’s memory to support treatment.
- Using mobile phones health workers in different location can better coordinate their activities and easily mobilise themselves in case of an epidemic.
- SMS reminders can be sent to increase treatment adherence and patients’ next hospital visits as well as informative messages on health practices they need to observe.
- Text messaging technology can also be used to assess client satisfaction in the target communities on the health services they receive, to ask questions and also get feedback on pertinent issues such as danger signs in pregnancy.
- Data can also be collected via text messaging, e.g. on young mothers, children, deliveries and mortality, recorded in a database and used by the district health services to respond to problem areas such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.
- Text messages can also be used to register all births and deaths in a community hence creating a “living registry” that can be used at national level when planning for health resources distribution.