Zambia: New Technology Helps Track Patients on Antiretroviral Treatment (April 2007)

Agness is a midwife and the coordinator for HIV counseling and testing services at the Prevention of Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission program at the Nangongwe Clinic in Kafue District, Zambia. In April 2005, the clinic started using a Smart Card as part of an electronic medical record (EMR) system, the Continuity of Care Patient Tracking System. This EMR system, which is supported by the PEPFAR, is the product of collaboration between the Zambian Ministry of Health and the U.S. Government.

With the Smart Card-EMR service, Agness and other health care workers can access up-to-date medical information on their patients and compile end-of-month reports much more quickly than they could with paper records. Agness has participated in trainings on the use of the EMR system and is proud of her ability to use the new technology to care for her patients.

Zambia is the first country in Africa to introduce EMR technology, which is particularly important for people on antiretroviral treatment. The system allows health care workers to carefully monitor patient medications and emerging drug resistance. This close patient tracking helps to control the number of patients who must switch from first- to second-line drugs. In so doing, the EMR system also helps to control expenses associated with second-line regimens. U.S. Government interagency website managed by the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
and the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department.
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