A multidisciplinary group of open health information exchange enthusiasts from Jembi Health Systems NPC had the privilege to participate in the inaugural OpenHIE community meeting in Arusha, Tanzania at the end of July. Representatives of Ministries of Health across a wide selection of African countries, research organizations, funders and other nongovernment organizations from across the Globe participated in the 3 day conference, each of which had a theme: “Enabling System Interoperability”, “Country-Driven Success” and “Innovations breaking new ground in information
Each day was filled to the brim with a variety of presentations and panel discussions and the organizers did a wonderful job of creating a collaborative space where participants could nominate and vote for topics that are front of mind. These community-driven topics were dynamically included in the schedule in true unconferencing fashion.
Participating countries had the opportunity to showcase interoperability implementations in action and collaborate on current challenges with fellow members of the community in the evenings, as well as during the 2 day HacKonnect-AThon that followed directly after the conference. The Tanzanian Ministry of Health also arranged for site visits to public as well as private health care facilities for delegates to witness the BID initiative in action.
The community meeting was a catalyst for many a collaborative relationship and initiative and the momentum of the new connections and collaborations is sustained via the various OpenHIE community forums.