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Government is advanced in building out the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, which will provide real-time data for hospitals and health centres across the island.

The US$8.4-million project is part of the Health System Strengthening Programme, which is being financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with support from the European Union. (EU)

The initiative, which is the first kind in-country, is currently being piloted in several clinics and is estimated to be implemented in all public health facilities by September 2022.

It will allow for all health information, personal data, and sick profile of patients to be stored in a secured data space managed by e-Gov Jamaica Limited (e-Gov), which will only be accessible by authorised health professionals.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, toured the data centre at e-Gov’s offices on Old Hope Road, as well as the warehouse located at Cable & Wireless on Carlton Crescent on Thursday (May 12).

Dr. Tufton said that the data centre “is tamper-proof and will allow for the movement of information from wherever it is inputted to wherever it’s going to be used in real time, so it can go from a health centre to a hospital”.

He noted that the data will be stored securely in one location with a backup situated elsewhere on the island.

“It also has several security features that prevent persons and entities from logging in or tapping into that database,” the Minister informed.

“It is robust. It’s checked regularly and based on the various forms of security features it is highly unlikely that it can be breached,” he assured.

The ICT hardware will comprise more than 2,800 devices, including desktops, laptops, and medical-grade iPads. C&W is responsible for configuring the equipment and following up with maintenance.

The Health Minister said that the ICT project “is complementing the other things we are doing, such as the building out of hospitals, health centres, training of additional staff, and so on. It’s all a part of this comprehensive package of building resilience”.

The tour by Dr. Tufton provided a first-hand view of the ICT infrastructure work being done to support the resilience of Jamaica’s health system and to interrogate the progress being made and some next steps.

The Health Systems Strengthening Programme also involves the physical upgrade of some 13 health facilities islandwide.

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