As mentioned in a previous post: internet coverage is increasing in developing countries and universal internet access is no longer just a dream. So, what does this mean for global health? What does this mean for health data systems?
When delivering software to our customers or helping them setup a DHIS2 for their National Health Information System (NHIS), we always end up with the same question: where should to host the system? While Web Applications can be developed using various languages and technologies, they are common enough to require at minimum a database (to host the data), a web server (to run the code and pages that make the application), and possibly a few other services (e.g. a mail server).
Martin learned to program as a kid on his Commodore 64, but turned to economics for his studies before starting a career as a teacher. He then shifted to software development, which he has been doing for the past 15 years, experiencing most of the roles in the sector: programmer, architect, customer contact, team leader, technical coach, startup founder and technical mentor.
Each year we see the use of mobile devices become more widespread, including in developing countries, where mobile technology was previously less accessible. Furthermore, with growing use has come an increased understanding of technology. This has clearly helped projects that use mobile data collection. While this underlines the potential power of mobile data collection, what key values does it bring?
A large number of countries in which we work have shifted their HMIS (health management information system) onto DHIS2 — a popular open source software tool developed by the University of Oslo. Often, the data platform also becomes the country’s de-facto health system data warehouse.
Over the last decades, the health system in Zimbabwe has been confronted with a double crisis: an economic collapse and the AIDS pandemic. This destabilized the health system at its core. And overall life expectancy dropped from 61 years old in the 1990s to 48 years old in 2005, before climbing back up to 58 years old in 2012.
While leading a course at the Tropical Institute of Antwerp, I asked participants (mostly mid-career health professionals from emerging economies) when they thought Internet would be available in the most remote parts of their country. Their median estimate was 2035.
Brussels, Belgium — 30 May 2016: Bluesquare, an innovative Belgian technology firm, has finalized a new round of capital investment exceeding 550,000 Euro. The Belgian social investment fund, SI2 Fund was a lead investor. Building digital solutions for governments and their development partners in emerging markets, BlueSquare delivers data systems for smart financing and results management.
Most of the time, projects are developed without taking the community’s voices and their everyday realities into account. Moreover, many surveys are addressed to communities without seeking their feedback or adjusting programs to meet the local needs. Putting communities in the driver’s seat implies an understanding of their needs and giving them opportunities to express themselves. To fill this gap, more and more donors, NGO’s, and governments are becoming willing to integrate social accountability as an essential component of future public systems.
Next week, the Belgian platform for international health, Be-cause health, will host a seminar on “Health 2.0: are we ready to go digital?” Taking place in Brussels on 24-25 March, the event will seek to identify opportunities and challenges in implementing ICT solutions as part of development cooperation in the health sector.