Lusaka Province Permanent Secretary (PS) Elias Kamanga has said government operations would have crumbled if the Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) were not employed in this era of Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Kamanga said the use of ICTs was timely adding that it has helped in the execution of operations meant to serve the members of the public.
“Imagine if we did not have ICTs in place, imagine if we did not have e-government systems, government operations would have crumbled,” he said.
He told ZANIS that the use of ICTs has helped to overcome the difficulties of communication in government institutions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the entire world.
The Permanent Secretary has since called for the roll out of the ICTs to all the government departments in the country saying it is vital for conducting meetings without gathering people in one place.
He said the use of Zoom to conduct virtual meetings is convenient and cost effective to the government.
Mr. Kamanga noted that government has saved funds through the use of Zoom as officers do not have to travel to attend meetings but can to it virtually and contribute from any location.
He said virtual platforms such as Zoom have played a key role in ensuring that government operations in health, education and agriculture sectors are not affected even with the advent of Covid-19.
Mr. Kamanga has since appealed to the Ministry of Finance to provide adequate resources for the development of ICTs in all government institutions.
“ICT infrastructure requires a lot of investments to ensure that officers are able to apply the use of ICTs in their operations,” he said.
He said his desire was that the ICT services should be rolled to all the seven districts of Lusaka province for effective communication to be achieved without necessarily traveling out to such areas.
“I think that all the government institutions should adapt to this new technology, it is a new normal that we all have to live with,” he said.
Mr. Kamanga however urged people to avoid abusing ICT platforms saying they should only apply it for the purposes of improving both personal and national welfare.
And a Public Health Specialist at the Lusaka Province Health Office Bushimbwa Tambatamba said all the health facilities in the province have access to internet services.
Dr. Tambatamba said the province is avoiding paper based operations adding that the introduction of the smart care systems has strengthened the electronic based care services to patients whose records can be accessed at any health facility once they produce their smart cards.
She said the province is also using mobile phones to monitor Covid-19 patients who are not admitted to health facilities.
The public health specialist further revealed that the province is using the echo-system to manage patients who are in remote places.
She said through the use of ICTs, authorities can manage to train health officers in places such as Chirundu on how to manage the patients in their care.
“The trainers can be able to see the patient and advise the specific interventions that can be done to help the patient through ICT platforms.” said Dr Tambatamba.
Dr. Tambatamba said 50 percent of the interactions at the provincial health office are done through the use of ICTs.
Meanwhile, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Corporate Communication Manager Topsy Sikalinda said 90 percent of the payments are now being done electronically through banks, WhatsApp and phones.
“We are discouraging physical interactions with clients unless something important. The authority has also increased the working hours for the call centre to minimize physical interactions in this era of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.