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Collaborative Capacity Building: Elevating Zambia's Healthcare System

Updated: Apr 5

The Jembi team and partners in Zambia, group photo with Jembi banners on either side.
The Jembi team and partners in Zambia

In early February 2024, the Jembi team set out for Ndola, Zambia, to conduct a series of workshops focused on improving healthcare information systems. From the 5th to the 17th of February, the team gathered the requirements for developing a functional Client Registry (CR) which included essential components for a more efficient healthcare system in Zambia.

CR Requirements Gathering Workshop

Zambia has set ambitious targets for its healthcare sector, with a clear focus on enhancing patient information management. With a goal of establishing a working CR system by September 2024, the team needed to hit the ground running.

Workshop Highlights

The workshops brought together the Jembi team and partners from Zambia's Ministry of Health (MOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other local stakeholders.

William presenting in a workshop setting, people sitting in rows with laptops and monitors.
Workshop attendees with William presenting

CR and MPI development workshop

Together, they engaged in detailed planning and discussions to define the requirements for the CR's implementation. The team addressed key topics, including Health ID generation, integration with point-of-service (POS) systems, and challenges specific to the CR landscape.

The Ministry of Health, CDC, IHM, CIDRZ, and Smart Zambia were among the key local stakeholders who worked closely to develop a comprehensive and multidimensional approach.

API Gateway Requirements Gathering and Project Planning Workshop

This session focused on the exploration and planning of an API gateway, a crucial component for enabling seamless communication between various healthcare systems in Zambia.

The discussions aimed to identify specific requirements and strategies for implementing a robust API gateway that would facilitate efficient data exchange and interoperability across healthcare services.

FHIR Capacity Building and Project Planning Workshop:

Focusing on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), this workshop aimed to enhance the participants' understanding and application of FHIR standards. Including hands-on training and strategy development for integrating FHIR into Zambia's healthcare infrastructure.

These additional workshops serve as examples of the thorough approach the Jembi team and its partners have taken to address various aspects of healthcare information management, such as patient identification, data interoperability, and standards compliance.

Overcoming Challenges

There were a number of difficulties during the trip, such as time restrictions and logistical difficulties in facilitating daily activities.

Participants engaged in lively conversation
Participants engaged in lively conversation

Addressing Complex Requirements

Each workshop highlighted the complexity of healthcare systems and the broad requirements for developing integrated solutions. Engaging with diverse stakeholders was crucial to identifying these challenges early and collaboratively developing strategies to address them.

Technical and logistical coordination

Coordinating the technical aspects of the project, such as API Gateway configuration and FHIR standards implementation, alongside the logistical arrangements for the workshops, posed a notable challenge. The successful balance achieved was a testament to meticulous planning and adaptability on the part of the team.

The team identified several key factors for success, emphasizing the importance of quick and efficient document approval and the creation of a solid data migration strategy. Additionally, the team's recommendations offered clear pathways to success, including organizing a hackathon to explore existing CR solutions for a proactive and creative problem-solving approach.

A close up of William's minor head injury.
It wasn't all work and no play with William's adventure in a ditch

On a lighter note, we almost lost William

In Ndola, amidst our mission's intensity, we had a moment straight out of a sitcom.

William, in a split second of distraction, stepped into a ditch and momentarily disappeared from view, giving us all a start.

Luckily, he emerged with just a few scrapes and a story that would forever lighten our spirits. This unexpected detour not only added a dash of humor to our journey but also highlighted our team's resilience and camaraderie.

It’s these moments that keep us grounded, reminding us of the joy and human connection in our work.

Learning and Moving Forward

The experience in Ndola offered valuable lessons in teamwork, communication, and flexibility. These insights will guide the planning of the upcoming hackathon in April 2024, aiming to further enhance the CR solutions and progress the project effectively.

As the Jembi team looks forward to the next steps, the workshops in Ndola will serve as a milestone in Zambia's journey towards a more integrated and efficient healthcare system. These efforts underscore our dedication to fostering a sustainable, technology-driven healthcare environment in Zambia.

Through collaboration, innovation, and a focus on capacity building, we, along with our partners, including the CDC and local stakeholders, are laying the groundwork for a future where every Zambian has access to quality healthcare services. This journey in Ndola marks just the beginning of our continued commitment to supporting Zambia's evolving healthcare sector.



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