Global Digital Health Forum 2018

Jembi CEO, Dr Chris Seebregts and Jembi Public Health Specialist, Ms Annie Neo, represented Jembi at the Global Digital Health Forum (GDHF) 2018 meeting in Washington DC from 10-11 December 2018 and also attended two follow-up meetings:

A meeting of the Health Data Collaborative (HDC) Interoperability and Standards Working Group was held immediately after the GDHF. Key topics that were discussed included: (i) Level-setting and vision-setting; (ii) Creating a package of tools based on DH&I co-created knowledge products; (iii) Operationalizing feedback on tool use; (iv) A series of presentations on knowledge products under development; (v) Reviewing progress against our objectives, setting priorities for 2019, and; (vi) Next steps and outputs.

A Digital Square Global Good Implementer Meeting was also held after the GDHF. Key topics that were discussed included: (i) Global Good Definitions; (ii) Sustainability of investments in Global Goods; (iii) Governance Models for Global Goods, and; (iv) Digital Square support for implementers.

During GDHF, Dr Seebregts participated in two pre-formed panel sessions:

The first panel session was entitled “Extending MomConnect – Advancing Collaborative, Participative Mobile Health in South Africa” and included speakers: Marcha Bekker (Praekelt Foundation), Chris Seebregts (Jembi), Jane Sebidi (NDOH), Jeanne van Greunen (Praekelt Foundation) and was moderated by Dr Peter Benjamin (Health Enabled). MomConnect, a flagship programme of the National Department of Health, is one of the most successful mobile health applications in South Africa with more than 2 million unique registrations after less than four years of operation. In this panel, a few members of the core MomConnect Task Team discussed next steps in the development and evolution of the MomConnect program. The NDOH is working on new approaches to the governance and long-term sustainability of the program. Among others, Praekelt Foundation is looking at machine learning approaches to analysis of MomConnect data. Health Enabled is extending the MomConnect service to specifically address the issue of PMTCT. Jembi has developed the technology platform out as a digital Road to Health App and the HealthConnect platform for interoperable mHealth apps. The panel explored ongoing development of the MomConnect program as well and illustrated important ways for mobile health to be optimised in low resource settings.

The second panel session was entitled “Facilitating collaboration to accelerate scale and improve digital health global goods” and included speakers: Steven Macharia, Amanda BenDor (PATH), Mary Jo Kochendorfer (OpenLIS), Matt Berg (Ona)and Chris Seebregts (Jembi) and was moderated by Dawn Seymour (PATH). Digital Square, an innovative co-investment global program led by PATH aims to serve as a convener in the digital health community, bringing together practitioners to share their work, lessons learned, and future needs. This helps organizations to work together to implement digital health tools that are adaptable to different countries and contexts, also known as Global Goods. To foster transparency, collaboration and synergy, Digital Square uses an open application platform including community feedback to align investments in digital health systems. The open application process provides a unique opportunity for practitioners to learn key details about, and comment on, each other’s tools and implementation plans. This session described the innovative open application process and feature global goods awarded through Digital Square including the OpenLMIS, Community of Practice, OpenCRVS (represented by Jembi), OpenSRP, and Bahmni.

Annie Neo hosted a learning session entitled “Extending MomConnect: The Health App Store and mHealth Framework” and was joined by Dr Peter Barron, technical adviser to the South African National Department of Health. The Health App Store is built on an open source mobile platform, developed to help integrate the mobile health environment in South Africa, providing integration with eHealth registries, content and device management framework to promote interoperability and data integration among mHealth apps using the platform. It builds on the successes of MomConnect, a flagship programme of the National Department of Health (NDoH). In the lab session, Annie demonstrated the technical development features of the Health App Store enabling it to help integrate mHealth apps. These include the use of content and device management frameworks and as well as an open interoperability layer and backend services from the open health information exchange.