USAID SOUTHERN AFRICA DIRECTOR CONDUCTS SITE VISIT TO CMIS FACILITY IN SWAZILAND
On Monday, October 13th 2017, the USAID Southern Africa Director, Mr. John Groarke, and Director of USAID’s Regional HIV AIDS Program, Mr. Bradly Cronk conducted a site visit to Ezulwini Satellite Clinic in Swaziland to learn more about the Client Management Information System (CMIS), and get an on the ground perspective on how this flagship project was running in one of the local facilities in the country.
The CMIS project, funded by USAID through PEPFAR, aims to make a large impact in the Swaziland health industry. In efforts to improve the quality of provision that health service clients (patients and users of health services) receive on each visit to a health facility, a single client record template, has been introduced and implemented to replace the current array of separate programme registers and card systems called Client Management Information System (CMIS), an electronic record management system for facilities in Swaziland.
The site visit was led by USAID Country Director for Swaziland Wendy Benzerga, who was accompanied by her colleagues from USAID, the Ministry of Health, IHM Southern Africa, and other implementing partners involved with the CMIS project. The delegation was met by the clinic’s senior nurse Sister Magongo who began the site visit by introducing herself and giving a brief overview of the facility.
She indicated that the facility first went live on CMIS in March 2017. Ezulwini Satellite has 9 service points, all of which are utilizing CMIS. She added that all 22 staff members were trained on CMIS before the “go-live” date, this staff training included nurses, support staff, orderlies, expert clients for HTC and TB. The facility also has 2 CMIS Champions who are seen as staff experts on CMIS. The Champion’s roles are to find solutions and provide support should any of the other clinicians or health care workers need assistance or face challenges with the system. Switching from the paper-based registers to the electronic system was a large adjustment to the clinicians, but through training on the system, and on-site mentorship, the clinic has made great strides in taking ownership of CMIS, and seeing the benefits of being a CMIS live facility.
Sister Magongo started the tour by showcasing the park homes which had been donated by PEPFAR through ICAP, in these homes, they are able to conduct ART, HTC and TB services to the public. The small facility was in need of more space to provide quality health services to their patients, so the park homes created much-needed relief in providing space for the facility. She then led the delegation inside the facility, and into the pharmacy where the medical supplies are stored, and issued to patients. There the delegation watched a nurse issue a patient with his prescribed medication, as the nurse inputted the medication details onto CMIS. This is where the CMIS server is also stored, due to the cooled air-conditioned temperatures.
She continued the tour by showcasing the facility’s registration point. This is the first point of contact for all patients before they are led to the relevant service points for their health ailments. The health information clerk showcased how she registered the first-time patient onto CMIS. She asked the patient for his demographic details, contact information, residential details, as well as the contact details of his relatives. Once registered onto CMIS, the client could now access the health service he needed.
Leading the delegation back outside to the park homes, Sister Magongo concluded the tour by thanking USAID for their invaluable contributions to the Ezulwini facility. She spoke about the positive impact the CMIS system has made to their facility, having a paperless, electronic system has assisted them with eliminating the large and cumbersome register books which would take up the little space they had in the facility. Patient information is now stored electronically, and through the facility dashboards, they are able to see reports of their daily activities at the end of each day. This has helped them to look out for health trends, or any potential health issues which seem to be common in their facility.
She further thanked USAID for providing the facility with airtime in order to be able to call ART patients who have missed appointments or are no longer in treatment. She also thanked the implementing partners such as EGPAF and Mothers to Mothers for their support to the facility, as well as the CMIS team led by IHM Southern Africa and the Ministry of Health on deploying CMIS in the facility, as well as the mentoring and support the team has provided as they transitioned to this new system.
“Through CMIS facility dashboards, we are able to view reports of our activities as a facility at the end of the day. This has helped us in monitoring any health trends taking place within our community. This tool has been very helpful to us” – Sister Magongo, Senior Nurse, Ezulwini Satellite