Using OpenMRS over the Internet in (rural) Uganda?

Dear Uganda community,

I’m trying to get a sense as to how realistic/doable it would be to use OpenMRS over the Internet in Uganda. I am talking outside Kampala metro, possibly even in rural areas.

If I stated that

  • 10 means: “easy, there’s always some 3G to rely on”.
  • 0 means: “silly, just forget about it”.

How would you rate it on average? Or per province/district? Or could you point me to the reference telecom survey that I should rely on online perhaps?

Your input would be really helpful (and much appreciated) to give directions and feasibility to a possible new project.

Cc: @ssmusoke @dkayiwa @wyclif @rubailly

@mksd In Uganda Internet varies alot by where you are accessing it and the volumes that you are looking to work with. Any area around a town or municipality should be relatively useable, this is about 3 years old - so expect coverage to be slightly better

My recommendation would be to use local servers at the facility then use sync to bring the data together.

The two biggest telcos MTN and Airtel Uganda have the best coverage all over - the cost of Internet is in the range of $100 per month

Thanks @ssmusoke, this article with maps is exactly the kind of input I was after!

Sure the alternate option is on premise + sync, but that also requires Internet right? So even in that case there will be the $100 per month recurring cost.

@mksd Yes, however the difference is that your Internet connection can be spotty with sync, and local facility work can go ahead without interruption.

Do let me know when you are coming down - would love to sneak UgandaEMR as your baseline OpenMRS distribution

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That seems to suggest that a tier two connection would be enough for leveraging sync. If the tier one is MTN/Airtel at $100 per month, what would be the cost (roughly) of the tier two option (if any)?

Of course! We are just scouting around regarding some early interest around Bahmni. But we would love to keep things up with the large amount of work that’s been done already in Uganda. Thanks for suggesting this.

@mksd The tier 2 would be the telco you have not selected - that is how our market is

@ssmusoke regarding sync, what are the reasons for not using sync2 (yet)?

@mksd Waiting for ability to sync obs as that is what is needed for aggregation of data across facilities

But that is supported by sync right (as in ‘sync1’)?

Not yet in the 2.0 version. Sync 1, was a challenge to setup and operate, looking to 2.0 as the future

But just to clarify, you can synchronise obs with sync1?

I guess the second question is, all that you need to synchronise with sync1 does work fine over the Internet across Uganda?

Yes I think you can, not sure if sync 1 - runs on platform 2.x

@mksd Good to hear this, with Support from a development partner, a four pronged HIV intervention strategy is being implemented at Uganda Prisons Service to link all HIV clients to HIV services; on admission to the prison ,during inter-prison transfers,during community re-integration after release. Using an OpenMRS implementation , PrisonsEMR since 2015 (OpenMRS Platform 1.9 now using 2.0) , but customised to suit the uniqueness of Prisons Health facilities countrywide for linkage as they are transferred from one prison location to another .

The system linkage strategy provides an opportunity to track and link the clients all with a unique Prison Identifier back to care as they move from one Prison Health facility to another countrywide.

We have successfully deployed on a number of remote Prison Sites in rural Uganda , and they can easily be accessed over the Internet( with basic Internet connectivity as low as 3G now routing for zero rated on a dedicated network) .

@mksd This is a concept we are using and are definitely looking forward to the OpenMRS Location Based Access Control Module to enchance our current operations

FYI @dkayiwa , @tendomart , @irenyak1, @jwnasambu

Thanks for sharing this @oebecha. I had no idea such a project existed in Uganda!

Just to clarify, when you say

It looks like those are locally installed OpenMRS instances, and the users (so the prison staff) would access their OpenMRS instance over a LAN, correct? They don’t use it over the Internet?

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Hi, thank for your question,i hope i got you right, but the Staff are actually able to access their facilities over the Internet, (VPN)one of our main objective is to be able to track clients to ensure continuation of care,control double counting etc in real time as they move from one prison location to another .

Its centrally installed, and accessed from any location , as long as u have the credentials as a certified user for security purpose

Hi @oebecha, when you say

Is there an affordable hosting service provider in Uganda for this? Some sort of local Cloud service provider?

Yes,it’s possible to find a local cloud service provider for this ,hit me on my email ,I could give you some possible recommendations