KAMPALA –The Makerere University Health Services has launched RxSolution; an integrated pharmaceutical management software, to improve service delivery, training, and research.
The solution was implemented with support from the USAID Uganda Health Supply Chain (UHSC) Program through the Ministry of Health (MoH).
According to UHSC’s Mr. Michael Kavuma, Makerere Health Services is the first public health facility to implement the RxSolution’s dispensing module, which allows users to trace medicine all the way from the stock to the patient, in order to ensure accountability at dispensing level.
The dispensing module is linked to the stock module and allows for computerized stock management tasks at patient service points in the outpatient and inpatient departments, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) clinic, Tuberculosis (TB) clinic, wards, laboratories, and other service points.
Mr. Kavuma further shared that RxSolution has been implemented in 276 of Uganda’s 400 higher-level health facilities with Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and Kayunga General Hospital as pilots. These public facilities can now order for stocks from the National Medical Stores (NMS) using RxSolution software.
As a result of implanting RxSolution, Makerere’s Health Services now stand to benefit from; enhanced service delivery through the solution’s ability to incorporate clinical guidelines, multiple reports that can inform decision making, streamlined patient management which empowers administrators to make prioritized deployments of staff as well as support to planning and budgeting for drug stocks.
The Director Makerere Health Services Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha thanked USAID and UHSC for their support in deploying RxSolution as well as training staff on the use of the software. He added that RxSolution will go a long way in enhancing the research pillar of Makerere Health Services. “We currently have three postgraduate students from the Department of Radiology and a number of undergraduates, especially those specializing in Health Management Information Systems.”
“We are committed to looking at Health Services beyond just this hospital. We have clinics at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) and in Jinja, so as to bring services closer to not only our staff and students but to the surrounding communities as well” he explained.
The Director shared that Makerere Health Services are also open to the public, which currently makes up 10% of the total clientele served. He added that the objective was to increase this percentage significantly, so as to generate funds that can be used to further enhance service delivery and boost the facility’s financial sustainability.
The Dean, School of Health Sciences, Dr. Freddy Kitutu could not help but use the occasion to brag about his School’s enviable position of being home to five key disciplines namely; Allied Health Scientists, Dentists, Nurses, Midwives, and Pharmacists, despite its relatively small size and young age. He commended the partners for implementing RxSolutions, noting that reports from the system would make it possible for the Pharmacists to carry out detailed reviews on the use of medicines.
Speaking on behalf of USAID and UHSC, the Chief of Party, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) Uganda, Mr. Phillip Kamutenga, stated that the support to the Ministry of Health by the partners is meant to ensure that there is an uninterrupted supply of medicines in the country. “I am therefore proud that we are going to be witnessing the launch of the dispensing module of RxSolution at the Makerere University Hospital today.”
Mr. Kamutenga emphasised that the traceability of medicines across the supply chain from the stores to the dispensing point is very important and Makerere University is going to be a reference point for all Public Health Units in as far as implementing the dispensing module is concerned. “USAID through the Uganda Health Supply Chain Program has donated the RxSolution, provided 20 computers, set up a Local Area Network and trained clinicians on the system to support this.”
The Principal CHS, Prof. Charles Ibingira could not help but laud his colleagues for taking on the challenge of managing the Makerere Health Services. He thanked the University Council and Management for assigning his college this responsibility, noting that health services ought to be prioritized for the good of all in the community.
“This hospital has the greatest potential in the country and region; we have the biggest number of specialists at the College, we admit over 400 doctors and health service officers per year and with our vision to create a health management organization present in all Ugandan cities, we could easily become a leading medical tourism destination for the region” remarked Prof. Ibingira.
He, therefore, thanked USAID, UHSC and the Ministry of Health for working with Makerere University to augment service delivery, training and research efforts within its health services through the implementation of RxSolution. The Principal nevertheless urged the Director Makerere Health Services to develop educational programs for staff and students aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in the face of a growing Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)’s a burden.
Representing the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Commissioner Pharmaceutical & Natural Medicines, Ms. Neville Okuna Oteba shared that her Ministry is currently pursuing all efforts to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for Uganda and the successful implementation of integrated pharmaceutical management solutions such as RxSolution lies at the centre of these efforts.
The Commissioner shared MoH’s expectations of Makerere Health Services following the successful implementation of RxSolution, with the need to become a Centre of Excellence topping the list. In this regard, she expressed joy that Hospital Staff had already stood out for the exceptional enthusiasm in embracing the rollout of RxSolution. “The College should now ensure that all students visit the Hospital and learn how to use the system before they graduate.”
Ms. Okuna Oteba also stated that MoH expects RxSolution to promote the use of investigative health care practices at the Hospital. “Antimicrobial Resistance is a time bomb waiting to happen and all of us are potential victims. We, therefore, need to talk more about the seriousness posed by poor prescription and dispensing of medicines.”
She concluded by emphasizing that investment in systems should benefit the people, especially as health facilities progress towards paperless patient care management. The Commissioner also asked the Hospital Administration to ensure that all research findings that can inform policy are shared with the Ministry of Health.
Delivering the concluding remarks prior to launching the system, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CHS as well as the Makererere Health Services Management and Staff upon transforming the face of the hospital within a short period of time. He particularly expressed happiness at the reducing number of students seeking treatment outside the hospital, a reaffirmation of the improved services.