Computerization of the Medical Consult for Children under Five Years of Age in Rural Areas of Burkina Faso
Presenter: Guillaume Deflaux, Resource Person on Information Systems, Terre des hommes Foundation
The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is a diagnostic method and strategy developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) aiming to reduce the morbidity and mortality of children under 5 years of age. Adopted by Burkina Faso, its implementation in rural areas of the country is difficult due to an insufficient number of trained health workers and because difficult working conditions increase the lack of rigor and motivation. Terre des des hommes Foundation partnered with the software editor Wopata to develop a diagnostic support tool based on the IMCI directly intended for health workers. The Electronic Consult Record (Registre Electronique de Consultation - REC) guides the health professionals throughout the consult to help them strictly apply the IMCI, thus decreasing the number of diagnostic and treatment errors. It determines in real-time the illnesses of the patients as the health worker identifies the symptoms identifies the treatment associated to each diagnosed illness according to the IMCI and the medicines to be prescribed with their dosages. The REC is a web application. The learning curve is easy thanks to an interface specially designed for users with mostly no experience with computers. Despite the lack of internet connection, backup and consolidation of data at the level of the Ministry of Health is possible thanks to a secure export and synchronization mechanism via USB drives.The REC is installed on dedicated laptops (netbooks) with a customized operating system. The operator has complete control over hardware and software environments, simplifying maintenance operations. By integrating the REC into the health system of rural areas of Burkina Faso we are affecting all the stakeholders of the health system. We are able to participate to the improvement of patient care, to ease the work of field agents and to allow to the Ministry of Health to better monitor the implementation of its national strategies. Ultimately, to save more lives.