The importance of Health Informatics in Kenya – Cirugía Solidaria and GNU Health

The team from Cirugía Solidaria has completed another successful medical and surgical campaign in the African continent, using GNU Health.

The team from Cirugía Solidaria has completed another successful campaign in the African continent.

Health professionals from Maragua hospital and Cirugía Solidaria with GNU Health Hospital Management System training session

The project took place in the hospital of Maragua, in Muranga county, Kenya. Dr. Victor López, from Cirugía Solidaria, describes the experiences during the seven day mission:

“In our latest project in Maragua, Kenya, we had 406 patient evaluations, and 142 of these patients underwent surgery. Some relevant information on the surgical procedures were 32 pediatric surgeries, 22 goiter, 11 cervical masses and 13 oncological surgeries. In addition, we detected 36 patients with cancer that were referred to the Kenya National Cancer Registry for treatment and followup.”

The mission checklist: In these type of projects, there are quite a bit of preparation that starts at home, in Spain, before taking the airplane to the final destination. In addition to the medical and surgical infrastructure, since the partnership with GNU Solidario, medical informatics components are now part of every mission from Cirugía Solidaria. For instance, the GNUHealth Hospital Management system instance is created, with the functionality and localization to meet the health institution needs and country needs. Network routers, laptops, batteries, backup devices…. everything has do be tested thoroughly in different contexts, because once you arrive to destination, there might not be Internet available.

Surgical training: In addition to the medical assistance and surgical procedures, Cirugía Solidaria also takes the Dr López noted, in addition, 11 health professionals have participated in training sessions related to surgery.

The role of GNUHealth: Dr. López went on highlighting the importance of GNUHealth. We want to highlight the GNU Health Hospital Management System in the our medical and surgical assistance. We have recorded all the patients, the evaluations and the details of the surgical procedures. In addition, we have addressed notes and details so we can followup when we return to the center. Moreover, GNU Health has been managed 100% by the health professionals from Kenya, they’ve have felt fully integrated in the initiative, being now part of the team. We are very grateful to the GNUHealth community for the enormous task they do to improve the assistance in countries and places that need it most.

We’d like to remark the importance of Dr. Lopez statement “GNU Health has been managed 100% by the health professionals from Kenya“. This is key, because not only the mission is very valuable to help those that need it most (medical and surgical), but it also generates local capacity and sustainable projects, for the betterment of our societies.

We are very grateful to Cirugía Solidaria and excited to keep on working side-by-side in upcoming projects, building local capacity and delivering a much needed universal healthcare. By looking at the statistics from the latest campaign, those numbers reflect lives that have been saved by anonymous heroes that leave their daily work aside to assist the underprivileged anywhere around the world.

Finally, some technical details for those of us who understand that Free/Libre software and open science are key for freedom, privacy and equity in healthcare: GNUHealth instance was installed on a Debian GNU/Linux 12 server, with GNU Health Hospital Information Management System component 4.2, Tryton 6.0 and PostgreSQL 15. Our gratitude to these fabulous pieces of software, that make GH a reality today.