HIC – Health Information Center

Health Information Center (HIC)
HIC is a MoPH project launched on Sep 2014 by financial support of GAVI in cooperation with HPD, HSS and Paywast in Jamhuriat hospital. HIC technical infrastructure and platform was developed by Paywast using world class state of the art technology. Management of call, contacts, patients’ cases, statistics and reporting are handled by mDOCTOR and SADA software.
Project Background:
In a developing country such as Afghanistan, Health Information Centre (HIC) can be a powerful strategy to improve access, reduce unnecessary travels, lower costs, and promote clinical and preventive services.  An HIC is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of health-related queries by telephone. It is operated by healthcare providers (midwives, nurses, allied health professionals, doctors or specialists) to provide preventive and basic treatment, triage for referral or provide advice from next level care providers, and arrange referrals to appropriate health facilities. The central object of the HIC will be to provide behavioural change advices, supporting public health interventions to predict and modify the adoption and maintenance of positive health behaviours. This will improve the personal welfare of the population and benefit Afghan society more broadly. The HIC system will aim to define individual actions as the locus of change, supporting the population to reflect upon their risk behaviours and change them to reduce their risk and vulnerability to serious and/or life threatening health conditions. Health Information Centres (HIC) – also referred to as Health Care Telephone Help Lines – are a service created to deliver health care advice and triage services by trained health professionals on the telephone. Information centres are used by both commercial and social organizations to benefit their clients by providing round the clock advice, triage, and referral for treatment.
HIC Objectives:

  1. To provide technical knowledge of EPI/Polio, Reproductive Health, and Nutrition to community beneficiaries with a focus on health promotion and behaviour change support
  2. To provide medical assistance to up to 300 beneficiaries daily and to help beneficiaries to live better and healthier lives
  3. To increase the overall capacity and educate citizens as well as CHWs in basic healthcare related matters, in order to improve the level of public health in Afghanistan

  

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Service Providing:
HIC is open from 8:00 AM till 4:00 PM every day without Fridays and national holidays with three male, three female counsellors and six interns (three male and three female interns) per shift (morning & afternoon) and will be able to perform up to 300 patient interventions daily from across Afghanistan not only in three topics, but now it covers all topics (general surgery, skin diseases, orthopaedics, ENT, eye diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, urogenital diseases ……)
Refer system:
HIC also refers those patients who cannot decide to where they should go for their treatment and it support referral system from communities to health facilities.
Complains:
Recording of patient complains from private and governmental sector also started from the beginning of the project and it was monthly wise. And as per MoPH request it became weekly wise from first of Mizan 1394.
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HIC advantages:

  • All citizens have equal rights to contact HIC for medical consultancy
  • Easy access for health workers (doctors, nurses, midwives ….) for additional information about their patient. Helps capacity building.
  • Strengthening good behaviours in citizens.
  • Strengthening referral system in Afghanistan.
  • Promotion of health knowledge of the citizens.
  • Free contact to short code 166 and free counselling.

HIC achievements:

  • More than 3 million calls received from the beginning of the project.
  • General information recommended to 19%, counselling for 52% and 29% of the clients have referred to health facilities.
  • Recruitment and attraction of (40) interns out of (112) HIC interns (doctors, nurses, midwives).

HIC challenges:

  • High number of callers and low capacity in telecommunication companies.
  • Shortage of counsellors and medical specialists.
  • Non-existence of 24 hours services in HIC.
  • Shortage of the office space in HIC
  • Expectations of health NGOs regarding their services through HIC.

HIC suggestions:

  • Recruiting of more counsellors and medical specialists
  • Arranging bigger space for upcoming HIC services.
  • Increasing the capacity of telecommunications companies, capacity building in platform and activating of HIC services for 24 hours.
  • Developing a Complain System with a standard mechanism.
  • Introducing HIC services and its potentials to donor communities and transform HIC services to a huge health services providing facility.


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