RxSolution Improves Patient Care in Kampala

 {Photo credit: Elias Tuhereze}Photo caption: Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Makerere University Vice Chancellor (4th left); UHSC Chief of Party Phillip Kamutenga (5th right); and Professor Josaphat Byamugisha (2nd right) with laboratory staff during the launch of RxSolution at Makerere University Hospital, Kampala, Uganda, November 2019.Photo credit: Elias Tuhereze

By Sheila Mwebaze

When Professor Josaphat Byamugisha and his team took over management of Makerere University Hospital in 2018, they quickly realized that they needed to make major infrastructural and operational improvements to the hospital and its affiliated clinics. The hospital provided basic health care services, but university students shunned its services and their visits were mainly to fulfill university registration requirements.

With a bold vision to revitalize and improve services, the new team worked with the university’s senior management and partners to revamp the hospital, which serves a catchment area of around 35,000 people. It was refurbished with a modern laboratory and dental, psychiatry, and other specialized clinics. These units were also furnished with new medical equipment, and more staff were recruited to improve the quality of care.

Still, something was lacking. Paper-based medical records were kept in multiple places, which meant that staff took too long to locate and retrieve them and led to duplication of patient information. Tracking the consumption of medicines across different hospital units was also a challenge. 

To address these gaps, Makerere University partnered with the USAID-funded Uganda Health Supply Chain (UHSC) project to strengthen the end-to-end traceability of medicines and health supplies, from supplier to the patient, by implementing RxSolution, an integrated, computerized pharmaceutical management system that supports best practices for procurement, storage, distribution, and dispensing of medicines and health supplies. 

Led by MSH, UHSC implements interventions to strengthen the supply chain system and expand effective management practices. RxSolution is freeware developed by MSH with support from USAID. It was adopted by Uganda’s Ministry of Health for logistics and stock management of health commodities in high-level public and private, not-for-profit health facilities in 2010.  

The system is now installed in 270 health facilities countrywide, with Makerere University Hospital being the first public hospital to activate the RxSolution dispensing module. The system is set up in the main store and across several units of the hospital, including triage and patient registration, records, clinician consultation rooms, laboratory, and in-patient and out-patient pharmacies, as well as the optometry and dental units, and connects clinicians and clients at various points of care. UHSC set up a local area network and provided the software, a server computer, a power backup with an inverter, and 20 computers and trained 25 hospital staff on the system. 

“This initiative will go a long way in enhancing the research pillar of Makerere Health Services,” says Byamugisha, who thanked UHSC for its support in installing and training staff on the software. Since its introduction, RxSolution has improved the storage and retrieval time of patients’ records, provided a robust accountability mechanism for medicines used, and helped to transform health services overall. 

Representing the Ministry of Health at the launch of the RxSolution in November 2019, Ministry of Health Commissioner, Pharmaceutical and Natural Medicines Neville Okuna Oteba praised the hospital staff for their enthusiasm and support for the rollout of RxSolution: “The college [can] now ensure that all students visit the hospital and medical students learn how to use the system before they graduate.”