Humans have been traveling across the globe even before borders were drawn for reasons ranging from business, exploration, social, medical, education, and migration. After 9/11, traveling became more complex with tight Visa rules, military grade screening of passengers, and increased surveillance. The latest casualty of these tight measures are ICT savvy travelers.

In March 2017, The US and Britain introduced new regulations for flights from Middle East, and Africa. The regulations ban passengers from carrying large electronic devices citing security concerns. The countries affected were Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The circular from the US homeland security read:

“These enhancements apply to 10 specific airports. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).”

With the new regulations, any device bigger than a hand help phone should be put in the checked-in luggage, and not carried onboard by the passenger. The listed devices are laptops, tablets, e-Readers
cameras, Portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone, travel printers, and scanners.

In the age of Snowden and Wikileaks, these regulations pose a cyber security risk. It gives a window of opportunity for anybody targeting data in the devices to get access to the checked-in devices, usually a laptop. The checked-in laptops of persons of interests will either be cloned, or disappear altogether. A federal agent will mark the luggage of the person of interest, and along the several luggage transfer chain, locate it and remove the laptop and clone the hard disk getting away with a wealth of data. This process can be done by either physically removing the hard disk, using a live CD like Tails to copy the contents of the laptop, or just crack the user account and gaining access to the laptop. This may sound far fetched, but federal agents have been known to go to great lengths to access information they deem necessary in their work.

Airlines have started being creative to help their clients experience the same convenience they are used to. For example, Emirates Airlines has introduced two services to it’s clients, a laptop handling service that lets clients use their devices until before boarding, and complimentary laptops for business and first class customers, where the customers are given Microsoft Surface 3 tablets to work onboard. Although this does not remove the security concerns mentioned above, it gives the rich a window to be productive while flying.

How do you secure your data while traveling?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California, gives some suggestions on traveling with data, especially after the U.S. government reported an increase in the number of electronic media searches at the US border.

  • store all sensitive data on a secure cloud offering like Dropbox or SpiderOak, or better still on a private hosted server.
  • Use a Chromebook as your travel laptop, which by default store all data on the cloud
  • If you must travel with your data, have two hard drives which you swipe on convenience. One with a clean operating system install without any data, and another with the operating system and data, but only swapped when the laptop is in use.
  • Always use full strong disk encryption for all your data.
  • The next debate on information confidentiality is usually centered around the question, Why should I care if I have nothing to hide? The next article will try to answer that question. Do you have anything to hide?


    The Blockchain Workshops came to Nairobi for the first time in December 2016.

    Enthusiasts flocked to the event at Strathmore University. The attendance was made more of blockchain techies, programmers, lawyers, and bounty hunters :). Well, most of us just had a vague idea of what blockchains were. Maybe they are bitcoins, or are they crypto-currencies? And of course 99% though of them as alternative currencies.

    What we refused to understand is that blockchains is a technology that allows distributed immutable smart contracts. The nodes performing the distribution get points for participating in the blockchain grid. And those points are what are generally called crypocurrencies. And the process of writing the distributed ledger for any blockchain transaction is what is called mining. You get some sort of points when you mine. Depending on the network you use, the point can be called a bitcoin, an ether, etc. Well easy, is it not?

    Well, my explanation my be off hook. So here is what Wikipedia has to say; “Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data – once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively”

    Prof. Nii Quaynor, one of the Internet Pioneers in Africa set the scene by showing how adoption of new technology happens around the world. It seemed just like in the adoption of the internet, Africa was alos lugging behind in embracing blockchain technology.

    The blockchain legends were around. The one who generated the most interest was Vitalik Buterin, the 22 year old co-founder of Ethereum. Ethereum is a publicly assessable, distributed blockchain computing platform that implements smart contract functionality.

    So I had to engage Vitalik. “What is your take on hard forks, especially the hard fork that was done on Ethereum when DAO was hacked. Does that jeopardise the credibility of blockchains which are billed to have distributed immutable transactions. Example if we implement a banking platform, or land registry system using Ethereum, the public will just claim transactions are reversible”.

    Vitalik’s answer was measured and calm, very pragmatic I must say from a 22 year old. He said that systems have to be adaptable. And as the popularity of blockchain technologies mature, including ethereum, it will be more difficult to apply hard forks. And hard forks are a matter of political decisions.

    The public was surprised to learn from the government of Kenya, through a statement read on behalf of the Minister of ICT Joe Mucheru that the government is working with IBM to deploy blockchain applications in government service. Three areas they are working on is land, education, and medical records.


    The 25th Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) meeting will be held from 25th to 30th November 2016 at Sofitel Imperial hotel in Mauritius.

    Tutorials will be held on Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), IPV6 foundation training, Internet Number Resource Management, and a session on increasing participation at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in the African Region.

    The session on AFRINIC Government Working Group will explore ways of involving more African governments and multilateral organisations in Internet Governance efforts.

    The Fund for Internet Research and Education (FIREAfrica.org) will hold a session training their grantees on Leadership skills, project management, and pitching to investors.

    An interesting development will be the launch of AFRINIC’s new IPv6 testing and certification platform available at http://certi6.io.

    The hallmark for all Regional Internet Registry meetings is usually the Policy Discussion Working Group (PDWG). The PDWG will discuss four policies among them Inbound Transfer Policy, Soft Landing policy Overhaul, the proposal to Transfer IPv4 Resource within the AFRINIC region, and Internet Number Resources Review by AFRINIC.

    The last day will have the Special general members meeting, where members will vote for Special Resolutions for AFRINIC Proposed Bylaws Changes, and elections of members for the AFRINIC Governance Committee.

    The Agenda of the meeting is available here: https://meeting.afrinic.net/afrinic-25/agenda


    My experience with Jumia. When it first launched a few years ago, I thought they had misspelled the Swahili word “jumuia” which means community :), so this guys are clever, they redirected jumuia.co.ke to jumia.co.ke. That is when you know a company is serious on business.

    Well, I’ve always considered myself an innovator, even though I hold no patent. Jumia, the online store has been around for a while, taking all advertisement space online. Who uses this service? One Sunday Morning in early July, while relaxing in the village where I was visiting my mum, I decided to try it out.

    On my phone, I went to jumia.com which swiftly redirected to the local shop jumia.co.ke. (Why do users always go to the a .com domain while the world has over 1000 top level domains?) I added a shirt. It looked good. Slim fit at Ksh1999 ($20). Then checked out. The shopping cart had an option of payment on delivery, with delivery cost of Ksh300 ($3).

    After confirming my order, I thought of buying a trouser too, and another shirt. I did just that, but the system did not have a way of merging the first and second order. So I added the first shirt on the second order to avoid paying double for delivery, and checked out. Total cost for the three products was Ksh6000 ($60). There was no option to cancel the first order. I wrote to support asking them to cancel the first order. Being on a Sunday, I did not get any reply.

    Coming Tuesday, I got a call from Jumia’s two different delivery riders for delivery of my products. Both the first and second order. “But I cancelled the first order?”, I politely notified the first caller.

    Well, the second order was delivered to my doorstep on a Wednesday to which I paid the motorcycle delivery guy the whole Ksh6300 (cost of goods and delivery), and excitedly went to fit my new acquisitions. The merchandise came in two packages, they were clearly from two different shops.

    Jumia online shopping in Kenya through jumia.co.ke

    I received two packages from Jumia

    I loved the first shirt, but the second did not fit (I’ve been growing fat, but I’m still in denial mode), and the trouser did not resemble that which was advertised. It had too much accessories, what we call madoido (effects) in Swahili. The rider had already left. I wrote to Jumia requesting for a return for the non conforming products. I was politely reminded to ensure I have confirmed the conformity of products before payment.

    Jumia’s return policy says you must return the goods within 7 days, and they inspect the goods to ensure they are in their original form.

    After several days and emails, the returns were picked. After more emails, the refund was effected via MPESA to the mobile number on file, and they did not charge the cost of the courier picking the rejected products.

    The MPESA refund message from jumia’s payment partner

    KGQ8BIGH2Y Confirmed.You have received Ksh3,898.00 from ECART SERVICES KENYA LIMITED 873250 on 26/7/16 at 7:38 PM New M-PESA balance is Ksh5,265.90. Buy goods with M-PESA.

    Well, e-commerce is here with us. And it’s working.


    The security firm ESET has warned on an increase of infected e-mails containing a malicious zipped attachment called Nemucod. It downloads ransomware, for example, TeslaCrypt or Locky. When opened, it encrypts the data on the victim’s computer and demand ransom for decryption. The virus has been detected in Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, and Africa . According to an Intel security report, global ransomware cases increased almost 170% in 2015. Bitdefender, an internet security company, found that almost half of the victims surveyed across Europe and the US have paid extortionists to recover data .


    According to investopedia.com, leadership is the ability to make sound decisions and inspire other to perform well. My definition of Leadership is the intrinsic ability to bring out the best in all team members by putting the group’s different talents to work for the betterment of a situation. Leaders are trustworthy, and demonstrate to their followers that they trust them. A leader is able to see a better world and convince others to join in his vision.
    Leadership includes inspiration, confidence, courtesy, a clear mind, and respect to others. Empowering followers is paramount to success of the leader. Leadership also includes giving guidance, and consultancy. Leaders have the ability to share their vision, purpose and passion with others so that others can do remarkable things that they didn’t believe they could do. Some people have described this phenomenon as the reality distortion field. A good example is when Henry Ford directed his engineers to cast an engine with 8 cylinders in one block. The design was drafted but the engineers agreed, to the last man, that it was an engineering impossibility to cast an 8 cylinder engine in one piece. But Ford persisted and it led to the famous V8 motor.
    Leaders have foresight to see the future needs of an organization and they have the commitment to move with the vision, making the leader greatly respected.
    An icon of the 21st century that I greatly admire his leadership style is the late Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple computers. His resilience when odds were against him, his unrivaled work ethics, his humble upbringing, his ability to question the status quo, his vision to change the world, and his unwavering believe that whatever man can conceive, he can achieve. This is a man that had major carries setbacks, but he bounced back to the topmost positions in corporate America with indisputable financial and popular support to Apple products, with a cult following to boot. This is a man, according to his own words “put a dent on the universe” thought the revolutionary products he produced. He said “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products”. Sarah McInerney of Sidney Morning Herald observed that Jobs was a passionate advocate for his vision and incredibly effective at communicating this to shareholders, customers and staff.
    A statement I find great inspiration from was a 1997 advertisement by Apple Inc called Think Different where they refer to the leaders who change the world as “The misfits … The round pegs in square holes … The ones who see things differently, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.
    If you look at all the inspirational leaders of the near past, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr., Mother Teresa, and Henry Ford, you will see the same traits mentioned by the Apple Inc advertisement. These are People who believed they could change the world, and they did.

    I have learned several leadership lessons in my line of work, and from observing successful leaders. My favourite lesson is never to stop learning. The more knowledge you acquire, the more you’ are able to solve life’s problems either in the organization or at a personal level.

    Lesson two is that a leader needs to seek for advice. We should realize that we don’t posses the sum of all human knowledge, and when we seek for advice, we will see the world through another persons view. Consultations make other team members feel that they are appreciated and meaningful in the overall scheme of things. Good leaders are those that can listen. It’s puzzling how LISTEN is an anagram for SILENT!
    Lesson three is being decisive because after you have lived the greater part of your life, you will only regret the things you never did. Decisiveness is based on the premise that better to try and fail than never to have tried at all. Decisiveness also means that there is no one way of doing things correctly. Different leaders can take different approaches and still arrive at the same goal.

    Lesson number four is confidence which can also be termed as burning the ship. This is best espoused by the Spanish Warrior Hernán Cortés who is claimed to have burned his ships during battle so as to cut all sources of retreat for his troops. Confidence entails moving as if failure is not an option; as if failure does not exist. Confidence is the unwavering belief that you will succeed whatever the challenges you face.

    Lesson number five is team work. Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall hang separately.” Team work is the principle that you will achieve more in the long run if you cooperate in tasks than if you work alone. If you go alone, you will go fast, but if you go as a team, you will go far. A good demonstration is a Marathon race where athletes run in groups, with pacesetters leading the pack. This way, the race is faster, covers greater distance, and the athlete that keeps to the group is likely to win the race which is a gruelling 42 kilometres. In the contrary, the 100meters race is very short, but the athletes run with individual effort, at super-human speeds. With such individuality, you cannot go far.

    Lesson number six is having ambitious goals. Without ambition, man has no difference with other primates. James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies called this principle Big Hairy Audacious Goals “BHAGs”. A leader should understand reality but give hope to the team, dream big, and pursue those dreams. All the greatest inventions in the world from the Piano, to the light bulb, to the Airplane were all because of ambition.

    Lesson number seven is concentrate on one task and give it undivided attention. When you are distracted from your goal, you will loose focus, your target might take forever to achieve, or it might be superseded by other events. Apple Computers have employed this lesson very successfully by concentrating on very few products, but at the same time ensuring that the few products they concentrate on have the best quality in the market.

    Lesson number eight is encouraging growth within the team, and boosting others self esteem. When the team is empowered, it means that you can perform more since even with the absence of a key individual, others will be able to fit into those shoes, and the performance will not be affected. Encouraging growth also helps with succession. A company with good succession ensures Knowledge is transferred between team members.


    I got a call from a stranger selling a product with the marketing cliche “become wealthy and healthy”.

    I was curious on how the Caller got my number. As she giggled, “You are our corporate customer on Bank B remember, I’m so and so”.

    I politely declined the offer, but I’m just wondering how far our data is used by unscrupulous employees. Do these corporate companies (banks, hospitals, insurance firms, telecoms …) understand what data protection is and the liabilities they face if there is a breach? Suppose I used my call log to launch a formal complain or even sue the bank!

    What does the current law in Kenya say?

    How does this affect you? Identity theft is real and here with us. Anybody that can get access to full information on your identity can easily wipe your bank account.


    Netflix is the US based on-demand internet video streaming service that rolled out globally earlier this year. It offers subscribers an extensive array of streaming videos. Netflix is an expensive affair. To access it, you need a proper working broadband internet, a specialized device like chromcast to stream if you don’t have a smart TV or a computer, and pay a monthly subscription fee. This is out of reach of many Kenyans.

    Despite it being expensive, Netflix will disrupt the Internet landscape in Kenya. It will bring Internet prices down, increase internet access and coverage, and increase competition in the industry.

    Netflix is accessed through a broadband Internet connection. That means the 30 million internet users can theoretically access it. But they can’t since majority of them only have feature phones. Those with smartphones must be ready to break the bank to have enough data bundles to stream movies month in, month out.

    Affordable unlimited internet is the only way many Kenyans will be able to access Netflix. How Internet Service Providers (ISPs) improve their products and coverage to cater for home users will determine the uptake of Netflix. Zuku, and Jamii Telkom (JTL) are poised to lead on this one because they relatively have the best products on unlimited fixed broadband access in the market. But they will feel the heat because the international Netflix traffic consumes a lot of bandwidth. This may lead to trotting bandwidth to survive. Cellular companies like Safaricom, Airtel and Orange too can capitalize on Netflix demand if they can have competitive unlimited broadband Internet. Airtel’s Unliminit product seem to be popular within the low income bracket. Satellite provides too can roll out VSAT and cover underserved regions. The entrance of Kenya Power in the fray may be what the consumers need. Bruising competition.

    ISPs are barely scratching the surface with JTL having 7,486 and Zuku 50,000 subscribers. According to Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data, broadband subscriptions increased by 19.3 per cent to reach 6.3 million in 2015, marking a penetration level of 14.7 per cent. Most of these being from cellular companies.

    Our market is unique. The cost for Netflix alone is around 800 bob a month, but the cost of unlimited broadband is around 4000 bob. 800 bob can give you 16 DVDs in River Road, enough to entertain your family for a whole month. Technology must match the cost of buying a counterfeit DVD to dismantle that market. That day is coming.

    To promote locally hosted content uptake, ISPs may need to discriminate between local and international transit. Netflix should setup a local cache, and ISPs should give an unlimited package for local content for say Ksh1000 a month, that will see local content production and utilization explode.

    This may go against net neutrality principles, but since CA has not given any policy direction on the same, the ISPs may take advantage of it. A cache peering at the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) will make the service really affordable because the cost of international bandwidth will be eliminated.

    Every user I meet who lives outside the coverage area of fixed cable internet is praying that they roll out in their neighborhoods, although the ISPs are hesitant since the only wish to invest in areas where they have the highest return on investments.

    I live in one of the most non digital estate, a place called “Rungiri rwa Ngwaci”, where my village mates may never have use for the internet and where zuku or JTL would never have thought of venturing. But with Netflix, we might see places like “Rungiri rwa Ngwaci” covered because my neighbors may see the use of Internet as a tool for entertainment.

    When we reach that stage where internet is a utility like water and electricity, then we shall know development. Before then, let me renew my internet bundles before they expire. There is one more reason to have Internet at home. Family entertainment.

     

     


    (Published in Daily Nation in Kenya, and at circleid)

    A very Interesting meeting The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) with an ambitious theme of connecting the worlds next billion people to the Internet took place in early November in a beautiful resort city of Joao Pessoa in Brazil under the auspice of the United Nations. Few Kenyans paid attention to it yet the repercussions of the policy issues discussed affects us all.

    Each year, there is one topic that takes the world by storm at the IGF. Two years ago, it was surveillance. This year, it was net neutrality. Net Neutrality in its most basic form is the ability of Internet service providers to treat all content that pass through their network equally without any form of discrimination. For example, Safaricom should not give preference to Wikipedia.com offering it for free, or Airtel should not give preference to Youtube, giving it a fast lane at the expense of other websites. There are many ways to which Net Neutrality is abused, among them giving fast lanes to certain services, traffic shaping, and zero rating.

    Zero rating means the end user does not pay for accessing a certain service, but the service offerings are limited. For example, the user will only have free access to Facebook, or Wikipedia, and nothing else. The content the user can access is determined by those with financial power. And there lies the problem, limited access for the end user. You see, the Internet is a public good, an engine for economic growth and development. The utilitarian approach is therefore to have as many people have access to the Internet as possible for a nation to attain its economic potential.
    At the IGF, researchers took sides on zero rating depending on their interests. A research in Asia revealed that zero rated services were an entry point for people who had no access to Internet, and those who used zero rated services converted to paid users after a while. Another research showed that people don’t use the Internet not because of the cost or availability, but because they don’t need it. Weird conclusion I can say. An interesting fact is; in communities where zero rated services were the norm, the users did not know the difference between the Internet and Facebook. That is a major problem if you ask me. Another research by Mozilla Foundation dubbed equal rating found that when users are given Internet bundles, they accessed diverse types of websites, not just one single website. But the big question was who funded these types of research? Facebook was accused of flying Cabinet Ministers from developing countries to expensive resorts in California to influence them allow zero rated service in their countries.

    We should say no to zero rating because it leads to monopolistic behaviours, anti-competitiveness, and customer lock-in. Zero rating gives a false Internet because it removes incentives for giving the underserved regions a proper Internet. Remember the definition of Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks, not just a single website.  Companies running zero rated services are crafty and just want to add up number of users to their platforms to increase their advertisement revenue streams. Zero rating stifles innovation because innovators are not able to penetrate the market where market leaders with tonnes of money have directed all the users to their own services.

    Zero rating is here with us. Airtel partnered with Facebook to offer Free Basics, a service that allows users to only access specified websites.

    The government has not taken any steps to protect the users, and innovators among us from such demeaning service. What is more annoying is government inaction to formulate proper ICT policies that move with the rapid changing times. Can you believe the National ICT Policy was last updated in 2006? It is therefore sad to have a government with pools of policy expert, who cannot formulate a Net Neutrality policy. The government is getting everything wrong in ICT policy formulation. Isn’t it Plato who said, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light!”

    All that notwithstanding, the government should pay keen interests to the following points:

    • Zero rating is illegal in most of the developed countries. Ask yourself why.
    • Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is a regulator and not a policy maker. Without policy on Net Neutrality, they have nothing to enforce thus leaving market players to their own devices, and anti-competitive behaviour.
    • The community, in an all-inclusive manner should develop a Net Neutrality policy.
    • CA is usually given targets to ensure universal coverage of communication services. They are very happy to maintain the status quo since they will report zero rated services as a metric of increased Internet access. This will be a big lie because they will have denied the rural folks access to the Internet. We all know one website is not the Internet. The best practice is to have the regulator pressure telcos increase rollout in under-served regions as part of their Universal Service obligations.
    • Zero rating infringes on fundamental human rights by denying users access to the Internet. It may be a conspiracy to keep developing countries in the darkness of the information age.
    • Let us advocate for universal coverage, better utilisation of Universal Service Fund, telecommunication infrastructure sharing, increased road coverage, accessible wayleaves and cable ducts, affordable energy, local content and hosting. All these will ensure the COST of internet comes down to a level where every citizen can afford.

    As Vyria Paselk, Director of Internet Leadership at Internet Society put it, “if your country does not have access to the Internet, then you are not participating in the internet economy”. And isn’t the entire world now an Internet economy?

     

    Mwendwa Kivuva is a research fellow at Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and IT Law, and a fellow at Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANET), Nairobi, Kenya.

    kivuva@transworldafrica.com, Twitter: @lordmwesh


    (Published in Daily Nation on Tuesday 19th January 2016)

    Technology can help Kenya achieve free Universal healthcare, and make it efficient too.
    Kenya is a country where its leaders have the temerity to gives its children dog food, as the leaders eat pizza.

    Consider this; healthcare in public hospitals is pathetic. It has always been like that. The public hospitals are ill equipped, Patients share beds, subjected to demeaning service , drugs are missing, doctors are few and apart, and when they are available , they do speed diagnosis so that they can go back to private practice. This systematic ruin has led to years of neglect in our healthcare system. Persevering Kenyans are used to this. They have accepted the poor service as a standard, dreading when they shall fall sick. The struggling middle-class raise funds, take loans and insurance to go to private hospitals. They are trying to escape the failures of government, and are too busy to pressure the government to offer better healthcare.

    This can change. And it would not cost an arm and a leg. Nearly all civil servants access healthcare in private hospitals. Private hospitals are doing booming business. They are equipped, pharmacies have drugs, hospitals are clean, and doctors are always on time. All this is paid by taxpayers, literally. And these private hospitals are conniving. They triple bills, conspire with patients for claims, and all manner of unimaginable malpractice.

    The government could have a policy that requires patients whose bills are paid by taxpayers to only access treatment in public hospitals, from the President to the lowest ranked civil servant. The policy makers would therefore demand better services because it affects them directly, and the benefits of this would reach every Mwananchi. This way, government would prioritize healthcare the way they prioritize other infrastructure projects. Former health Minister Charity Ngilu tried to change public perception by insisting on being admitted at KNH whenever she was sick.

     

    Assuming the 150,000 civil servants together with their families use Ksh100,000 per year on medical care, that translates to 15billion. If this is allocated to public healthcare, it is enough to build 4 hospitals the size of KNH every year.

     

    It’s scandalous that one hundred and fifteen years since King George hospitals (now Kenyatta hospital) was built, there is no national Electronic Medical Records (EMR). According to the US which has a Health Insurance Portability and Protection Act (HIPPA), an EMR is a systematized collection of patient and population electronically-stored health information in a digital format. These records can be shared across different health care settings. Records are shared through networked, enterprise-wide information systems. EMRs include a range of data, including demographics, medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics like age and weight, and billing information.

     

    EMR systems are designed to store data accurately and to capture the state of a patient across time. It eliminates the need to track down a patient’s previous paper medical records and assists in ensuring data is accurate and legible. It can reduce risk of data replication as there is only one modifiable file, which means the file is more likely up to date, and decreases risk of lost paperwork. Due to the digital information being searchable and in a single file, EMR’s are more effective when extracting medical data for the examination of possible trends and long term changes in a patient. EMRs also facilitate population-based studies of medical records.

     

    An EMR is ripe for Kenya which is committed to ensuring there is Internet in all health centers across the country by the year 2017. An EMR will bring efficiency to our hospitals and cut on costs, reduce the number of record officers, eliminate storage of voluminous files, and the time doctors spend with patients. Patients on the other hand will be able to access quality medical care anywhere in the country.

    I hope the current CS Dr. Mailu can read in between the lines and rescue ailing Kenyans. From his resume, he’s an intelligent and accomplished man. He can convince the self-christened digital government to walk the talk. If he teams up with the ICT CS Mucheru, I believe that will be a winning combination in bringing meaningful change.

    A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. With technology, and all of us eating dog food, we will achieve free universal healthcare.