Among many achievements, the past 15 years of Health Information Systems (HIS) support for the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the PEPFAR initiative has transformed Zambia’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) from a retrospective system to a prospective system present in over 1500 facilities and re-engineered to incorporate decision support at the point of care and to be interoperable with fingerprint biometrics, laboratory, pharmacy, DHIS2, and a helpdesk system. Concurrently, regional Information Technology (IT) hubs were setup in all the 10 provinces to support the MOH and its clinical partners in scaling strategies for maintenance, training, and ongoing deployment of SmartCare (SC).
To assure a last-mile step for institutionalizing the Health Information Systems (HIS) funded initiative aimed at Strengthening Clinical Health Information Systems Sustainably (SCHISS), previously supported by multiple partners, to a strategy having its governance, capacity development, operations, and financial sustainability through the MOH, the IHM-led program aims to sustainably scale the) infrastructure, bringing innovations that emphasize operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and system-user value in digitizing health interactions for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and accessing the information thereof, while strengthening national stewardship of the HIS. The IHM consortium proposes to implement a two-pronged strategy: on the one hand, we will support the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Implementing Partners (IPs) to scale, maintain and sustain HIS through activities that: strengthen performance and scaling up of SmartCare Plus (SC+) coverage; train MOH staff in SC+; and champion sustainable maintenance of SC+ and HIS overall. We will also support MOH’s National Data Warehouse (NDW) for the routine receipt, storage, and production of data using health information exchange, systems interoperability, and advanced analytics and visualization tools by acting to provide technical assistance for maintenance of NDW including evolution to Big Data environments; incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning computational capabilities to strengthen Decision Support Systems (DSS); and strengthen DSS, reporting and research. On the other hand, and concurrently with the above strategies, IHM and its partners will undertake capacity building of the MOH, initiate and enhance governance and leadership of HIS by MOH, and initiate or improve public-private partnership initiatives.