Monitoring your program with DHIS2

Get the pointers needed to decide if DHIS2 is the best fit for your program

Bluesquare and IT4life are excited to announce the launch of  “Digitizing your programs: tools and tips”, a series of webinars to help project and M&E managers identify the best digital solutions for their operations, and make the right implementation decisions

The first webinar will explore DHIS2, an open-source software broadly used as a health management information system. Recently the tool has been increasingly used in support of education, WASH, and humanitarian aid projects, or as a monitoring and evaluation platform. DHIS2 allows for better data collection, management, visualization, and data use.

During the webinar, participants will have the opportunity to engage with Olivier Cheminat, DHIS2 specialist at Bluesquare, who will explore the advantages of DHIS2 to support project digitization or M&E processes. Through this webinar, you will be able to better grasp in which situations DHIS2 can be a good fit for your intervention, taking into account human resources and costs constraints

If you are an M&E, MEAL manager, or a project manager, and would like to learn more about the use of DHIS2 and alternative solutions to this technology’s shortcomings, this webinar is made for you. 

Register Thursday 10th June, 2 pm-3pm (Brussels Timezone)

To stay up to date on upcoming webinars in the “Digitizing your programs: tools and tips” series, contact Mireille Ntchagang, mntchagang@bluesquarehub.com.

OpenHexa, Bluesquare’s new Data Integration Platform

We often hear about the scarcity of health data coming from low resource countries. However, in the last decade, we at Bluesquare have experienced a significant increase in the volume of data being collected through the expansion of software solutions such as DHIS2.

However, with the development of data transmission through multiple communication networks, it can become hard to keep track of all the data being collected by public facilities, private actors, NGOs running campaigns, research projects or logistics systems. It is even harder to mobilize these various sources of data to create meaningful analysis and reports that can help guide public health decisions.

To help solve this problem, Bluesquare is proud to introduce OpenHexa, our open-source data integration platform targeted at health data professionals.

OpenHexa’s interface

Solving the key challenges of data processing : Exploration, Extraction, Visualisation

OpenHexa is focused on four key capabilities:

  • Data exploration through the data catalog component, which allows users to browse, search and discuss data from different sources (S3 buckets, PostgreSQL databases, DHIS2 instances…). This will make possible the synchronization of data from different sources and formats.
  • Collaborative interactive computing through the notebooks component, based on Jupyterhub, where users can create and share notebooks. This will allow software users to easily share their ideas and advancements across teams.
  • Automated data extraction and transformation using the data pipelines component, which will greatly speed up the extraction processes.
  • Data visualization through the visualization component, which provides an easy way to use OpenHexa data in different data visualization and business intelligence tools. 

OpenHexa also provides powerful access control features, allowing you to make sure that every user can only see and work on the data he has been authorized to use.

A user oriented open source platform

By developing OpenHexa as an open-source platform, we are tackling two challenges:

  1. The lack of open-source integrated data platforms: there are many  high-quality open-source software tools for data visualization, analysis or automation, but integrated platforms that combine the different aspects of data science tend to be proprietary, expensive, and plagued by opaque pricing structures.
  2. The brittleness of data workflows in public health projects: when working with health data, experts are often confronted with heterogeneous data, tasks that require manual operations, and siloed information, leading to analyses that are disorganized and difficult to reproduce .

OpenHexa offers a novel solution that is both integrated and 100% open-source (codebase available on Github). We can host the platform for you in our cloud infrastructure, or you can deploy it yourself on any cloud provider – even in your own infrastructure.

Exploration in OpenHexa

Our aim with developing this platform is to offer our partners and future partners a tool that enables programs and managers to automate processes that are often manual, time consuming and error-prone. We had at heart to make it open source and to have a user friendly interface to allow a great number of administrators and projects to benefit from it.

Are you as excited about the launch of Openhexa as we are? Participate in the development of the source code on Github or request a demo session with one of our experts.


Use case: Improving the national surveillance system for infectious diseases

While not limited to health-centric workflows, our platform has been developed with health data as the primary use case. 

OpenHexa offers an ideal environment for local universities, analytical units within Ministries of Health, Institutes of Public Health, National Statistical Institutes or international partners to implement a wide variety of data analysis, at national or sub-national level.

As an example, let’s consider an epidemiologist who is interested in improving the national surveillance system for infectious diseases. This system relies on weekly data collection on about 20 diseases collated at the district level. Each week, data is aggregated manually by a data manager in a provincial bureau and sent to the national surveillance team at the MOH. Then analysts from the national surveillance team evaluate the data using Microsoft Excel and try to identify outbreaks.

How can OpenHexa improve this workflow?

  1. Using the data pipelines component, automated extraction pipelines are implemented to ensure that up-to-date data is consolidated every week. Current use cases include data coming from DHIS2, Excel systems, EpiData collection systems, Access databases
  2. Within the notebooks component, a data scientist develops an outbreak detection algorithm in collaboration with national experts and academic teams and colleagues within and outside the country
  3. The data scientist can share the outbreak notebook with their colleagues and local experts
  4. The outbreak algorithm is then deployed as a data transformation pipeline and scheduled to run every week using the latest data
  5. Using a third-party visualization tool (such as Tableau or PowerBI) connected to OpenHexa, a data visualization expert creates a dashboard to visualize the outbreak data
  6. A local monitoring and evaluation team is trained to use the data integration platform, operate the outbreak detection code, and evaluate the data visualized in the dashboard, and oversees regular updates to the surveillance system. They can zoom on specific zones, compare outbreak cinetics from different years, articulate various relevant data series.

Thanks to OpenHexa, we have moved from a manual, error-prone process to an automated and reproducible solution which allows in-country teams to generate better insights into district-level epidemiological trends.

Webinar series : Digitizing your programs: tools and tips

Are you struggling to choose the right digital tools to monitor your program and leverage data ?

Digitizing project processes can lead to a significant improvement in data availability, timeliness, quality and consistency. However, with the array of digital solutions now available, project and M&E managers are left with a burning question: “what digital tools are best suited to monitor my program and leverage data for my specific needs and budget?”

And that is exactly the question we will offer an answer to in this series of webinars focused on real-life use cases. We will explore the best-in-class software and hardware solutions available for various use cases and openly discuss their advantages, constraints, deployment requirements and costs. As we know that technology is only a means to an end, we will also discuss change management practices that will allow you to get the best organization value and impact out of your digital investments.

Join us to get answer on issues such as :

  • Is DHIS2 a good platform to manage my M&E processes? 
  • What is the best mobile data collection tool for my specific use case?
  • How can I digitize beneficiary management? 
  • What are the best digital tools for stock management? 
  • Are there efficient solutions for activity tracking – and how can it be linked to M&E?
  • What are the best and most cost-efficient solutions for data visualization? 
  • What are the conditions for proper digital tools deployment ?
  • What is the best and most cost-efficient hardware to digitize my workflows ?
  • Practical considerations to scale digital tools within your organization
  • What does it take to create a data culture within your organization?

Digitizing data collection and management tools for the monitoring and evaluation of programs can bring a significant improvement in data availability, timeliness, quality and consistency. Numerous digital solutions are now available to support various data workflows, leaving M&E managers with a burning question: “what tools are the best fitted for my specific needs and budget?”

Sign up now for the first webinar in the series: “Monitoring your program with DHIS2” And stay tuned for the other webinars in this series to:

  • Get a clear understanding of the digital solutions for M&E environments
  • Get straightforward feedback from our pool of experts on your current challenges
  • Connect with an active community involved in setting up digital tools for M&E.

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