Uganda has become the first country in the world to benefit from a healthcare information system that manages, measures and monitors the distribution of Anti retroviral drugs (ARVs).

Harvey Stewart, the chief executive of Rocky Mountain Technology Group (RMTG), said the government approached them for a system which can block misuse of ARVs and improve distribution and accountability to donors satisfaction.

"This product, expected to be in use in Uganda by mid next year, is the most advanced and complete system in the world," Stewart said.

Named ARVims Version 2.0, the system was designed by RMTG, an American technology company dealing in the development of software and services for the retail pharmacy industry.

It is a product of collaboration with Uganda's Ministry of Health, since 2003 and has been tried at Mulago, Mengo and Jinja hospitals.

Stewart said the system would enable public health officials to conveniently and accurately manage confidential information starting from when a patient registers for a programme.

It tracks all physician-patient conference information, monitors pharmacy inventory and produces reports for accountability and forecasting.

Dr. Peter Waldron, the advisor to the RMTG president, explained that the system records periodic inventory summaries, stock usage, monthly and quarterly patient regimen and treatment trends. It also allows patients who change their places of residence during treatment to transfer between clinics because data can be transferred safely and confidentially.

"It provides other information to facilitate drug needs or usage tracking to prevent fraud as well as a number of patient demographic statistics and World Health Organisation clinical stage summaries."

The system was initially planned for 11 regional hospitals before it will be spread across 316 treatment facilities across the country.

Ultimately, the system will improve the quality and consistency of treatment, as well as facilitate the management and effective use of medical resources. The Ministry of Health will also be in position to use clinical information to avoid 'stockouts' and other issues of procurement.

New Vision