New Health Information Project set to save lives

A new project is collecting vital information from health facilities all over Vanuatu. The program, named Tupaia, aims to gather up to date information about medicine supply, services and equipment from nearly 160 health facilities.

Working together with the Ministry of Health’s Pharmacy Department, the project will provide the Government of Vanuatu with information to assist them in allocating health resources and have a nationwide picture of needs.

Agnes Mathias, Acting Principal Pharmacist in the Ministry of Health, says the project will assist the Ministry at every level.

“Information can save lives and will help us to create the best possible healthcare system,” she says.

“Through Tupaia, we can better allocate medicine, training and resources to the parts of the country that need it the most and prevent waste in others. This is important to make sure we provide high quality healthcare to everyone, anytime, anywhere in the country.”

The project is named Tupaia in honour of the legendary Pacific navigator who helped Lt. James Cook explore the pacific in the 18th century. Teams will also collect data in Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati Timor Leste and PNG.

Project Director, Michael Nunan says a key focus of the project is sharing this vital health information once it is collected.

“Each country collects small amounts of information about their health systems each year,” he says.

“Tupaia aims to collect a huge amount of supply chain and medicines data routinely, from a variety of sources. The important thing about Tupaia is that we will then bring all of it all together and share this information with anyone who will find it useful, including the public.”

The team will complete collecting data in Vanuatu in the next two months and information will be available on the website www.tupaia.org by mid-November.

“Anyone can access the information we collect via our interactive online map,’ he says.

“The Government has access to the most detailed data, but the public can access basic information about clinic services, opening hours and location which is great for patients and the local community or even students and researchers who want to learn more about our health system.”

The Tupaia team has completed the mapping project in Kiribati, Tonga and Solomon Islands. This information is already available via www.tupaia.org.

The public can also follow the journey of the Tupaia mapping team on Facebook and Twitter as they make their way around Vanuatu.

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