ADB-supported digital health information system to help manage patient care in Tonga

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $7.5 million grant to support a nationwide, digital health information system that will improve the quality and reliability of health statistics in Tonga.

“This project supports the government’s commitment to e-governance in the health sector by delivering essential public health services using a digital health information system, including digital patient records, that will allow for continued patient care and data collection for strategic decision making,” said ADB Principal Management Specialist for the Pacific Pamela Wyatt.

“We look forward to the reporting on progress toward the goal of universal health coverage.”

Tonga has a population of about 107,000 people living on 170 islands spread across 750,000 square kilometers in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean.

Economic development constraints include remoteness and dispersion, exposure to external economic shocks, and limited human capacity.

Constrained resources and lack of information to guide resource allocation in the health sector has led to poor health services, including limited health promotion and poor health outcomes.

Tonga’s efforts toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3—good health and well-being—have achieved substantial improvements in infectious disease prevention and control, as well as reproductive, newborn, and child health.

However, more needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality, improve immunization coverage, and prevent and control noncommunicable diseases, especially diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Activities to be conducted by the project include the improvement of the enabling environment for the use of digital health data.

The project will support the government in developing a gender-sensitive digital health strategy, and work to review and amend legislation, policies, and regulations related to the health sector and the use of digital solutions.

A digital health information system will also be implemented, which will include patient, facility, and workforce registries, while digitally recording data on births and deaths to the government’s population databases.



Photo file. Caption: Prince Ngu Hospital, Neiafu, Tonga