PhD Study Aims to Promote Universal Health Coverage in Kenya

Dr Augustine Kihiko’s PhD in Information Systems and Technology explored the challenges of technology adoption and the extent of technology use in the Kenyan health sector.

Supervised by Professor Brian McArthur, the study expands understanding of how governments, through the Ministry of Health and personnel in public hospitals, can deliver quality services and manage their health information systems.

‘The study was undertaken in 35 public health facilities across two counties, Nairobi and Nakuru. It revealed low levels of adoption of Cloud-based Health Information Management systems,’ said Kihiko.

The findings further revealed that the government has only adopted the District Health Information System II (DHIS 2) platform at county and sub-county health facilities, leaving out the majority of facilities, namely, health centres and dispensaries.

‘There are thus two parallel reporting systems, with the lower-level health facilities using paper-based reporting systems, while the county and sub-county use the DHIS 2 platform to report health information,’ said Kihiko.

‘The use of cloud computing would avoid parallel reporting of health data, improve data accuracy and promote timely access to and use of health information for decision-making.’

While data collection was challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of the findings being used to improve his country’s health care sector kept Kihiko motivated.

‘The research provided timely findings and recommendations to the government for the adoption of cloud-based health information systems that can assist with the successful implementation of universal health coverage in Kenya. The research will be shared with the country’s Ministry of Health to enable it to make informed decisions while deliberating on strategies to strengthen health systems,’ he said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Abhi Indarajan