Imagine a world with 18 million healthier children than today. Their lungs haven’t been collapsed by diphtheria, their legs haven’t been crippled by polio, they haven’t died from pneumonia before they were named.
These children grew up strong and healthy.
How do we make this imagined world a reality? This is what drives the OpenLMIS community every day. We strongly believe that with better access to supplies, data and feedback loops, vaccine rates will increase. OpenLMIS is at the forefront of moving information closer to those who need it and back to those who provided it. We do this by working with you– with partners, with governments and with health workers, OpenLMIS has developed an open source technology that supports the distribution of public health products to hard-to-reach places.For our new innovation, we started by listening. We heard from warehouse logisticians about the lack of workforce support, from district officials who wanted flexible data collection tools, and national EPI managers who asked for an end-to-end solution that provided data visibility into all aspects of their program. From our colleagues in Zambia looking for a solution to reduce the paperwork burden on health workers, to our Congolese partners who describe the challenges of poor stock-taking tools, to the Uganda official who wants technology to work in places with poor connectivity. We’ve heard you.
In response to those requests, OpenLMIS is building a new vaccine functionality. The new module includes the ability to make informed forecasting of resupply decisions by integrating with DHIS2 and remote temperature monitoring devices (RTMs) to give a comprehensive view across the entire program—from cold chain equipment status, to stock levels, to coverage. And because we operate on the principles that “the last mile of data is the first mile of information”, we integrate with mobile applications for offline support in last mile areas.
Why do we think this will work? It already is. Through SIGLE in Benin, VIMS in Tanzania, SELV in Mozambique, these are the names of local implementations built on OpenLMIS, now reaching more than 10,000 health facilities across sub-Saharan Africa. Health facilities staff using OpenLMIS report that it now takes them about one minute to calculate and submit orders. Before OpenLMIS, it was taking them three hours to do those same calculations. They now get those three hours back to provide services to patients.
So that world that I describe earlier—a world where vaccine preventable disease and death is in the past? We are deeply inspired by that vision. OpenLMIS is not a tool. It’s about a community that’s dedicated to making this world a reality.