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Reflections from the inaugural OpenHIE Community Meeting: Learning, sharing, growing, and innovating

Oct 3, 2018

Organizing an international five-day meeting for a diverse digital health community is no easy task. There are venues to secure, agendas to develop, and invitation letters to draft. Yet the leaders and innovators of the OpenHIE community were driven to ensure that we all had a place where we could gather to get to know and learn from each other about health information exchange.

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OpenSRP is a 2018 Gavi Pacesetter

Aug 1, 2018

This year keeps delivering exciting news for the OpenSRP community. Last week, OpenSRP was named a Gavi Pacesetter at the annual Gavi INFUSE workshop in San Francisco, California. OpenSRP was one of only four Pacesetters selected from an initial pool of 220 applicants. Gavi Pacesetters are selected for their cutting edge technology and innovative approaches for tackling the challenge of immunization coverage.

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Tanzania and Vietnam forge South-South learning exchange to advance electronic immunization systems

Jul 19, 2018

Last month, PATH’s Vietnam office and delegates from the country’s Ministry of Health had the opportunity to learn from the BID Initiative in Tanzania. The learning exchange is part of a new South-South partnership forged between two countries implementing electronic immunization registries (EIR). To date, BID and the government of Tanzania have rolled out to four regions, with ten more planned for 2018. In Vietnam, PATH’s pilot EIR, called ImmReg, was first developed and tested in 2012, before expanding into the National Immunization Information System (NIIS), which was launched in 2017. Last month’s visit was a chance to deepen this partnership and trade lessons about the challenges and successes of securing government buy-in and building health system capacity for EIRs.

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Lessons from the Americas: PAHO launches toolkit for the introduction of electronic immunization registries

Jul 2, 2018

Evidence suggests that electronic immunization registries (EIRs) are cost effective tools that help increase coverage, improve the timeliness of vaccination, provide reliable data for decision-making, and reduce revaccination by helping to verify and track previous immunizations. Developing an EIR, implementing it at the country level, and, above all, ensuring its sustainability are not easy, fast, or inexpensive processes. However, the experience generated by multiple EIR development projects, and the success of some of those programs, can be used as sources of best practices and provide lessons learned. Within this context, Electronic Immunization Registry: Practical Considerations for Planning, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation was developed and published by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 2017. 

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BID joins colleagues from PATH’s Vietnam office to swap experiences about digital registries

Jun 26, 2018

Remain committed to openness. Coordinate with other key initiatives and organizations. Contribute to the body of knowledge that informs future investment. These are just a few of BID’s founding principles, which were manifest last month during a stakeholder meeting in Laos. On May 3, members of PATH’s ImmReg team and the BID Initiative joined a meeting convened by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Immunization Program (NIP) of Laos. It brought together key partners working with the government to share, understand, and prioritize the needs of NIP and the MOH regarding the immunization information system. The ImmReg and BID teams shared their lessons learned, challenges and successes with implementing and scaling electronic immunization registries, so that stakeholders and members of government in Laos, who face similar data challenges, could learn from their experiences.

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BID joins other digital initiatives and stakeholders at the ICT4D conference in Lusaka

May 9, 2018

The BID Initiative is headed to the ICT4D conference in Lusaka, Zambia this week for a chance to share and learn from others in the international development community. The conference convenes public, private and civil society organizations from across the international development community, including professionals with backgrounds in health, agriculture, finance, software development and data use and visualization, to name a few. This year, ICT4D is expected to attract more than 600 participants.

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Tanzania’s digital leadership drives partnerships with JSI, others

May 3, 2018

To be truly successful, data quality and use interventions must be scalable and able to be implemented across different settings with different people and partners beyond the BID Initiative. We are pleased to see these partnerships already taking shape with, for instance, the Catholic Medical Mission Board in Zambia’s Western Province, where the country’s electronic immunization registery is now in use in nine health facilities. Most recently, BID has collaborated with John Snow, Inc.’s (JSI) inSupply project to rollout TImR in Dodoma Region.

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Celebrating progress and looking ahead this World Immunization Week

Apr 27, 2018

During a recent visit, Regina Chilekwa, a nurse at Mahatma Gandhi Clinic in Livingstone, Zambia, sat with a patient and talked her through the vaccines her young son needed to keep him protected. Every year, at the end of April, the global health community celebrates World Immunization Week, a chance to spotlight the incredible potential of vaccines, progress toward closing the immunization gap, and advocate for the gains that still must be made. Closing the immunization gap requires all hands-on deck. And while coverage has improved greatly in the last few decades, it has recently stagnated. Twenty percent of children still face barriers to vaccination, ranging from a lack of access to services, to weak health information systems, long travel times between facilities, and vaccine stockouts.

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Success rolls out in Southern Province

Mar 29, 2018

When Fred Njobvu, Provincial Coordinator for the BID Initiative in Zambia, looks back on January 2017, he wasn’t sure how the team would manage to roll out data quality and use interventions to the remaining districts in Southern Province. “We were running out of time in our grant,” remembers Fred, “and we needed to deliver interventions to the rest of the province.”

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Planning for compasses, not maps: BID celebrates a culture of learning, applies principles of adaptive management

Mar 16, 2018

Beatrice Owawa’s fingers dance across the screen of her tablet. She nimbly jumps from one window to the next, as she checks vaccine records and stock levels in the Tanzania Immunization Registry (TImR) at Usa River Health Center in Arusha, where she works as a medical attendant. When Beatrice pulls up a list of young patients who have recently missed their vaccines, she takes down their names and contact information and begins to call their caregivers. It may seem unremarkable, but the task of identifying patients who have fallen through the cracks used to be nearly impossible. Before TImR, Beatrice relied on paper registries to track “defaulters,” or patients who had missed a life-saving vaccine.

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