Baobab Health Trust Malawi
"The J2s are helping Baobab to improve healthcare in Malawi. We expect to support over 7,000 patients with the system in this project for 2010 alone."
Sabine Joukes, Country Director for Baobab Health Trust Malawi
Baobab Health Trust (www.baobabhealth.org) is a non-government organisation, based in Lilongwe, the capital city of the developing southern African country of Malawi. The Trust takes its name from one of Africa’s most remarkable trees, the Baobab. Reputed to live for thousands of years and achieving remarkable height and girth, the Baobab, with its nutritious leaves, fruit and seeds, is a valued source of sustenance for native peoples.
In a similar way, Baobab Health Trust is committed to providing enduring succour, but this time in the area of health care systems. The Trust develops, builds and deploys information and communication systems in conjunction with government and health care workers. It collaborates both with the state Ministry of Health and with Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust for the deployment of systems to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre for their Surveillance Programme of In-Patients and Epidemiology (SPINE) Project.
To run its information systems in Malawi, Baobab required clinical workstations that were rugged, reliable, required little maintenance, could be secured, and came with a low cost of ownership.
With the purchase funded by the Liverpool Malawi Wellcome Trust, Baobab has selected PC-based touchscreens from global manufacturer, J2 Retail Systems. The J2 580 has been selected as its clinical workstation. This fanless machine, connected to a barcode scanner and printer, is deployed in each ward including the TB patient ward, and is linked to the HIV ART Clinic.
The information system records, tracks and manages in-patient care and appointment data. The patient registration system allows all patients to be recorded with relevant details. Using a unique barcode for each, it identifies patients so that their records can be retrieved from the system in future visits by simply scanning the barcode.
In addition, the system interfaces with the Baobab Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) Clinic application. By providing information on patients who are or who have been on such treatment, the system aids doctors in their diagnosis and prescription.
· The fanless and dustproof J2 580 has a reputation for coping well in harsh and dusty environments and is virtually maintenance-free
· In addition to the J2 580’s reputation for resilience and durability, Baobab was reassured by the 3-year warranty that came with the machine
· With computers particularly vulnerable to theft in Malawi, another advantage of the J2 580 is its ability to be used in a secure casing
· The touchscreen system is intuitive and easy for staff to learn and use
· The J2 580’s support for barcoding means that patient records can be stored and retrieved quickly and accurately
· Baobab was able with confidence to demonstrate to its major donor, the Liverpool Malawi Wellcome Trust, that the J2 580 was cost-effective to purchase and maintain
As J2 Retail Systems’ Business Development Director for Southern Europe and Africa, Christina Fielvard, explains, Baobab’s selection of the J2 580 was influenced by a number of factors.
“Given challenging operating conditions, Baobab needed a machine that would not be subject to mechanical breakdown or damage through physical shock, overheating or parts failure. The fanless J2 580 requires little or no maintenance and has a reputation for endurance in harsh and dusty environments where other machines struggle.”
The necessity to send desktop computers for repair is particularly expensive and time-consuming in Malawi where there is a lack of qualified repair facilities and limited capacity within government departments to maintain their own equipment. Baobab was reassured by J2’s 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and by the J2 580’s proven mechanical and physical toughness.
A characteristic of the J2 580 is its flexible mounting options. With computers particularly vulnerable to theft in Malawi, another advantage of Baobab’s chosen machine is that it can be secured within a steel casing.
Concludes Christina Fielvard: “As much of Baobab’s work relies on donor funds, the Trust needed to choose equipment which would stand the test of time in a hostile environment with minimum maintenance. Baobab was able to demonstrate the low cost of ownership of the J2 580 to the Liverpool Malawi Wellcome Trust.”
Now widely accessed by staff using the J2 580 PCs, the program developed by Baobab Health Trust allows for an efficient review of data related to the patient’s medical history, including new information such as laboratory orders, final health outcome upon discharge, diagnoses, confirmatory evidence, treatment prescribed and next appointment details.
Comprehensive reporting functionality is one of the system’s advantages. This provides critical information on the patients, their ailments and care received. As much of the data will be used for government health management purposes, this module focuses on meeting the reporting requirements of the Health Management Information Systems mandated by the Malawi Ministry of Health. At the same time, it delivers critical information to support and assess the success of Baobab’s life-saving work.
Sector: International Health