Introduction of WAKA-Health Technology to Enhance Primary Healthcare in Low-Income Communities in Uganda

Innovations for Development (I4DEV) in partnership with Sustainable Innovations (SI-USA) and Health Impact Partnership is working to launch a tech-based innovation aimed at improving primary healthcare among underserved communities in Uganda.

The innovation bridges the gap between communities, community health workers’ models of service and the healthcare system. The technology has been piloted in India by Sustainable Innovation and has proven to be effective in improving access within underserved communities.

The Problem  

Uganda’s Health Information Management System is faced with several challenges that hinder the effective provision of healthcare data for quality care. Nearly 70 per cent, of the systems, rely on paper-based information management tools to process health data. This makes it so tedious, time-consuming and prone to human errors due to data incompleteness, inaccuracies, and loss. These challenges greatly impact the process of collection, sharing, storage, retrieval and usage of patients’ health information and hence compromises healthcare delivery. Rural areas are the most affected due to infrastructural and technological challenges.   

Healthcare providers have often failed to access patient data on time, which is core to the sustenance of patient-centred care (Kuipers et al., 2019). Delays in accessing patients’ data as a result of inadequate technologies often lead to poor health outcomes. 

Therefore, by adapting the Care@Home technology in Uganda, I4DEV intends to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Health Information Management Systems at the community and health facility levels in the targeted localities by improving how CHWs provide PHC, related to the higher level of care, coordinate and relay information with the healthcare system.

The Solution

WAKA-Health is a portable, knowledge-driven, online and offline Health Information Management System adapted from the Care@Home innovation developed by Sustainable Innovations US to improve healthcare delivery in low resource settings. WAKA-Health provides a platform that is loaded with MoH medical protocols for the management of ailments. It is designed to collect patients’ medical data (biomarkers) from diagnostic devices by the CHWs and or Healthcare Providers.  

CHWs and or HCWs conduct home visits to take records of patient’s information which is uploaded and stored on an online cloud for access by a medical facility or clinic (service providers).

The collected data is availed to selected Health Centers through a web-based platform which is availed through hosts’ user rights on any computer device(s) that has access to the internet. The system is set to provide alerts to Health Care Workers to notify him/her of appropriate action.  

Based on the extent of information available the HCW provides feedback through the system to CHWs and their patients. This information is at times shared in form of diagnosis, treatment, and or referral. At the health facility, the system can be used to generate descriptive, diagnostic, prescriptive, and predictive analytics for further decision-makers at different levels.

NB: The system may be used to capture related social determinants of health e.g. housing situation, income, access to amenities (WASH), and distance from HF etc.