new hope hospital
bringing digital patient management to hospitals in bukavu and kavumu
sector: public services
location: bukavu and kavumu
partner since: 2015
Kavumu, a town located 50km to the north of Bukavu is an area blighted by chronic poverty, sexual violence and insecurity. Close to the Kahuzi-Biega national park, a UNESCO world heritage site of tropical forest, the area is increasingly “home” to a number of armed groups fighting for control of land, natural resources and political power, fuelled by ethnic tensions and outside interference. Families rely on selling fruit, charcoal or cassava, but many survive on less than $1 per day. The community’s access to healthcare services and facilities, including rape kits, is severely limited by distance, lack of infrastructure and poverty. A small number of victims are able to access support from the internationally-renowned Panzi Hospital in Bukaku, but government assistance is virtually non-existent.
Dr Pascal is an experienced physician who spent years working in hospitals across Bukavu in order to raise the funds needed to establish his own healthcare facility in Kavumu. Initially, Dr Pascal was able to purchase the land for the hospital, fund the building work and purchase some medical equipment.
When Ensemble first met Dr Pascal the hospital was in urgent need of additional medical equipment. The facility was also struggling with patient management, relying on a paper records system that was inefficient, insecure and vulnerable to deterioration. Ensemble provided a loan to purchase medical equipment and install a solar power system. We also collaborated with Fjord to install a patient management system called OpenMRS, an open source platform used in hundreds of hospitals around the world, especially in developing countries. It required a solar-powered local area network and server to run the application and tablets for the doctors, the receptionist, laboratory technician and accountant, but it has made all the difference to the hospital’s management and patient care.
The combination of high value medical equipment and online patient care has given the hospital a reputation that has spread far and wide. Patients travel sometimes 80 kilometres to be treated, which in Kivu is a long and arduous journey. The result is that the hospital is often full and the doctors in demand for operations and maternity care and to treat the ever-present problem of malaria.Three organisations have now contracted the hospital, the largest of which is for one thousand employees of the United Nations. The doctors have no doubt that the care afforded by the equipment and performance improvements enabled by OpenMRS have made a significant contribution to winning the contracts.
Dr Pascal has now opened a second facility in Bukavu. We are working with him to utilise the OpenMRS patient administration system and to develop an mHealth application using Frontline SMS and WhatsApp to provide vital healthcare information to pregnant women through SMS. Our hope is to deploy the service in Buakvu and Kavumu, expand the content to also reach women with children up to the age of 5, with the aim of reaching 1,000 users.