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iHub By Rachel Gichinga / July 4, 2013

iHub 3.0: Innovating in technology for the Kenyan Community


iMed Cluster – A proposal to solve one problem in the health sector 

- By Jimmy Gitonga, iHub Manager

Recently the High Court of Kenya enlightened us on who a citizen in Kenya is and that the citizen has the rights to information enshrined under Article 33(1) and 35(1) of the Constitution of Kenya. But Article 35(1) should interest us the most.

(1) Every citizen has the right of access to—
(a) information held by the State; and
(b) information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom.

In a 3-part article, we will look at what the tech community in the ICT sector can do for Kenya, particularly in the Citizen Medical Records area.

The Issue

The Kenya Government needs and collects information of its citizens. Thus, Kenya will need an open information system that is accessible to the citizen. The government should be able to input and access personal information through different services offered by the it and its agencies.

The Promise

Thankfully, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, in his first public speech at the Connected Kenya Conference, gave pointers in the direction he sees Kenya going and how the ministry will be involved in that.

The rallying words on our lips should be:

Inclusivity, consensus, coordination and harmonisation

Dr. Matiang’i gave an example that he used to show how government would work and be felt by the people. He illustrated how a citizen would go to a hospital in Mombasa, be sent to a referral hospital, and the doctor would be able to pull up the patient’s information from a database that is accessible to the doctor online.

The Challenge

As the iHub, we have been looking at how we would address this particular issue of citizen medical information. But this must be answered together with the larger question: citizen information.

We need to find the best way to approach it. In the past number of months, we have been talking with different travelers on this journey and this is what we have come up with.

At the very base of it, we need a platform that fits this bill:

  • Access – The platform should be built on Free Open Source Software. It should be interoperable with other software and hardware used in the medical sector.
  • Stability – The platform should use one programing language and can be modularized.
  • Scale – The platform will be in the “Cloud” and the desktop and mobile expressions of it should reveal only what is relevant for the particular device and person accessing the system.

Haiya, twende kazi.


Author : Rachel Gichinga

  • Jeffrey Cherogony at 13:50:57PM Thursday, July 4, 2013

    I am a student and have been researching a lot on this subject. I came across OpenEMR an open source application that can be customized into our medical system.
    I have deployed it in one medical centre and have been following up to ensure it achieves meaningful use, and we are very close.
    I am working on generating the necessary statutory reports for MOH using this system. This same system has been used at Nyanza District Hospital and has been working for the last 1 1/2 years. It is workable, can be deployed on the web, has a patient portal… Needs exploration

  • Kenyan123 at 17:32:30PM Monday, July 8, 2013

    Nice article and I am glad that the cabinet secretary is keen on revolutionizing the health sector. I just have a few questions about what you meant by ‘access to citizen information’?

    1. With regard to information about a citizen’s health, who would be able to access this kind of information? The article does not talk about the limits but rather, implies that anyone will be able to access this kind of information. If this is the case, then I think the repercussions will be really severe. I think there’s is need to create a regulatory framework in tandem with the creation of the software.

    2. I was also wondering whether the information that should be open to citizens includes voter information e.g. registration? And if so, what are the sources and limits?


  • Gesuka Leonard at 13:03:49PM Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    I am too excited, by this noble goal. With “open Data” available to US as Techie to create softwares that can be used to make sense of this data.

    Research is the best way to go about it.


  • Jimmy Gitonga at 19:28:30PM Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    It is good to hear that the system has been deployed in some of our hospitals. Now we need to take nationwide, on the cloud so that every patient can have access to his information from anywhere.


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