Health Information Systems
In effort to strengthen the health information systems towards HIV epidemic control, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) in collaboration with IntraHealth, through the USAID funded HIV Clinical Services Technical Assistance Program (UTAP), has been working on improving Namibia’s HIV data management reporting and data use by developing and implementing a custom HIV Electronic Patient Monitoring System (ePMS), also referred to as Quantum. Quantum precedes the legacy ePMS system used at public health facilities in Namibia to monitor and manage clients on antiretroviral therapy and gathers the data necessary to target high-burden HIV districts with focused, high-impact interventions.
Quantum underwent various phases of development, including gathering consensus and approval for the system’s functional requirements specifications, system design and implementation. UTAP released the first beta version of the new ePMS system in September 2017. The new release of ePMS became known as Quantum ePMS, due to the Quantum leap, the electronic patient monitoring system made from its predecessor.
Quantum beta version underwent preliminary user acceptance testing with national-level program officers and facility-based data clerks— with the first version, Quantum ePMS (QePMS), deployed in November 2017 for piloting in Oshikoto region. In May 2018, the MoHSS recommended the pilot to be expanded to regions that were not receiving direct UTAP support to assess whether the system could function smoothly with minimal technical support. The system was therefore deployed to Khomas and Hardap regions in October 2018. Prior to deploying Quantum in the pilot regions, district-level training was conducted and necessary IT hardware upgrades on health facilities equipment was done. At the end of the pilot phase, Quantum was operational in 58 health facilities in the three regions (Oshikoto, Hardap and Khomas) accounting for 19% of the 310-public receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites.
Since the first deployment in the Oshikoto region, Quantum has undergone eight updates to improve on its efficiency and usability. In October 2018, the QePMS technical working group was established to monitor the pilot implementation performance, identify, and address challenges, evaluate the system and facilitate the national rollout of the system. The technical working group is chaired by MoHSS with members from the MoHSS, CDC, USAID and IntraHealth Namibia. The MoHSS Policy Management, Development and Research Committee (PMDRC), chaired by the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, gave final approval for a national rollout in May 2020.
The project is currently being implement in the whole country with the national roll-out having been completed in December 2020.