Notice C

Promoting the collaborative development of proposals for investments in digital health global goods

Digital Square supports investments in digital health global goods, which are tools that are adaptable to different countries and contexts. Mature digital health global good software is software that is (usually) Free and Open Source (FOSS), is supported by a strong community, has a clear governance structure, is funded by multiple sources, has been deployed at significant scale, is used across multiple countries, has demonstrated effectiveness, is designed to be interoperable, and is an emergent standard application.

We are using an open proposal process. Your concept notes and proposals will be publicly posted, giving you and other submitters the opportunity to find collaborators and provide and receive feedback from your peers.

Concept-Notes (48 total)

Displaying 36 - 40

Planwise - Optimizing Geospatial Network Coverage

Notice C Opportunity: 
Announcement C0: Global Good Software Development and Support
Application Status: 
Approved – Contingent on Funding

Executive Summary

What is Planwise? Planwise is an open source software tool that uses geospatial modeling and optimization techniques to make it simple for an organization to understand whom they are helping, and to maximize the efficiency impact of their services.  Specifically, it shows a user what the current coverage and capacity of the network is, and then produces scenarios for how to best enhance access to care; for the least amount of funding.

Prototype for a generic health insurance claim management system - linked to existing OpenIMIS and OpenMRS

Primary Author: Nicolas de Borman
Notice C Opportunity: 
Announcement C1: Modular transformation of openIMIS
Application Status: 
Approved - partially funded

Multiple countries have decided that progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC)  will go through the reinforcement or setup of social health insurance systems. Health insurance schemes ensure that eligible individuals benefit from a defined package of services from accredited health care providers at an agreed price. These health insurance systems require reliable IT systems. An open source health insurance data system would provide a highly valuable global public health tool to countries that are willing to accelerate their UHC agenda by following this health insurance roadmap.     

OpenIMIS is an Open Source health insurance management software developed by the Swiss Cooperation over the last ten years, that has been deployed in at least three different countries. OpenIMIS is designed as a stand alone data system that replicates features that other “digital square” tools support in a more flexible way. There is a strong rationale to upgrade OpenIMIS to (i) modularise its ICT architecture, (ii) enhance its interoperability with other “digital square instruments” to leverage the potential of other tools and avoid software development duplications.


In our view, the successful roll-out of new technology tools requires two key elements (i) the right software architecture for the tool in question and (ii) a dynamic community of users and developers that allows the tool to grow, change and continue to be adopted in broader and broader contexts. With this in mind, Bluesquare proposes three parts to the approach.

  1. The first is to strengthen the existing OpenIMIS initiative ( to help ensure that the “OpenIMIS project” becomes an open and collaborative initiative that builds on contributions from different software teams and groups. A steering committee will ensure that these contributions are coordinated and aligned towards the new modular OpenIMIS. Initial members of this initiative would include Bluesquare, Intrahealth, AEDES and R4D along with the existing OpenIMIS stakeholders (Swiss Government, GIZ, KFW). Other groups such as SwissTPH and HISP will be invited to join the initiative.     

  1. The first project of this group will be to start the rebuild OpenIMIS through the development of a new claim management module that would interact with other “digital square” tools, in particular DHIS2, OpenMRS and IHRIS. This prototype of a claim management module could potentially provide value to existing OpenIMIS users, Result-Based-Financing programs or existing health insurance systems.  

  1. The third effort is to begin fostering a community of health insurance managers, health insurance experts, result based financing managers, strategic purchasers, implementers and idea generators. To this aim, Bluesquare proposes to ensure that this software project be guided and prioritized by stakeholders that would benefit from these new tools. Beyond the existing OpenIMIS users, we intend to collaborate with R4D that have expressed their interest in being involved to foster dialogue with countries where they provide technical support. They are also open to help link the initiative with the JLN network. Bluesquare would anchor  efforts within the Result Based Financing world specifically leveraging the community of practice.


A high level look at the players for this project

  • Bluesquare is a software company that has deployed a dozen health financing data systems and has developed claim management systems on top of DHIS2 for result-based financing programs in eight countries. In the mid-term, we envision an OpenIMIS claim management module that would both serve health insurance use cases and result-based financing uses cases, since result-based financing systems are evolving towards patient level strategic purchasing.

  • Intrahealth, a leading US-based technology provider, co-developed IHRIS and their role would be to support the integration of HR systems within the future health insurance data platform.

  • R4D supports policy dialogue on Universal Health Coverage and health insurance systems in multiple countries. They would support this project both directly through the programs it manages, and through its continued support of the JLN (Joint Learning Network).

  • AEDES is a development and health consultancy that deploys CERHIS, an open source EMR data system.   

Scaling health worker capacity at the last-mile of low-resource supply chains through self-learning and community support on mobile phones

Notice C Opportunity: 
Announcement C0: Global Good Software Development and Support
Application Status: 
Approved – Contingent on Funding

Technical Requirements Disclosure

Logistimo satisfies the technical requirements for C0 as noted below:

Scaling the Capacity for BLIS 3.0 (Basic Laboratory Information System) Implementations across Laboratories in Africa

Notice C Opportunity: 
Announcement C0: Global Good Software Development and Support
Application Status: 
Approved - partially funded

Executive Summary

Strathmore University requests support for the scaling of in-country technical and implementing capacity for the expanding open source BLIS 3.0 (Basic laboratory Information System) user community across selected laboratories in Africa.

As a background Laboratories in developing countries, have a high demand for test services but are under equipped, understaffed and compounded by workflow inefficiencies. Strathmore University in collaboration with other implementing partners have developed  an open source Basic Laboratory Information System (BLIS) that was configured primarily for specimen, testing and test results management supporting  functionalities such as lab test equipment  interfacing  and electronic data transmission to other systems(e.g. EMRs) to reduce manual workload, decrease turn-around times, and improve quality control, and documentation to meet internationally-recognized laboratory standards and improve quality of laboratory specimen testing.

BLIS has been successfully implemented in 2 county level hospital laboratories in Kenya with ongoing implementations in 10 district/regional laboratories in Uganda. This implementation experience hand proof of concept has resulted in emerging interest and requests for technical support from a number of countries including Swaziland, Mozambique and Nigeria. We have also developed a growing community of BLIS users including developers, implementing partners, lab managers and technologists and the ministries of health stakeholders.

This proposal is a request to support the scaling and building of local in-country capacity to sustainably support BLIS 3.0(the upgrade) implementation to laboratories in Africa. This objective will be achieved through the following key activities;

1)    Developing and strengthening of the in-country technical capacity through the establishment of the “BLIS Academy” to focus of developing both offline and online training resources targeting various categories of the BLIS user community.

2)    Liaise our implementation activities with the LIC Community of Practise(LIS-COP) forum to leverage on the community and also scale the implementation of the system.

3)    Strengthening the development of the BLIS 3.0core modules to support a wide ranges of workflows, services, tests and specimen referral support.

3)    Support the BLIS 3.0 integration to more laboratory testing equipment and data exchange with other systems.

4)    Provide technical support to the BLIS user community and drive the expansion of the community through a well-defined communication strategy.

5)    Develop a long term sustainability plan through source multiple funding and also implement the system in private hospitals at a charge to maintain the growth and support of the system

The Consortium Team

The proposed consortium team include the following key players:

  1. Strathmore University-BLIS Team ( ). The core BLIS software development has been implemented by this team in collaboration with the Georgia Tech in University of Atlanta. This core team comprises of developers, implementers and trainers. This team will be responsible for building the in-country capacity for participating countries and growing the BLIS community of users.
  2. The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL): Both the US and Kenya offices of the APHL have been instrumental in rolling out the BLIS development and implementation in Kenya and also extended the support to the Mozambique office. APHL has provided invaluable user testing, training, support and liaison with the Ministry of Health in Kenya. The scaling of BLIS and building of the community of user will leverage on their network and experience across Africa.
  3. The African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). ASLM in collaboration with the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) and with technical support from Strathmore University have implemented BLIS in 10 facilities and are looking to scale this to 30 facilities across the country. ASLM and UNHLS will play a vital liaison and implementation role in the scaling of BLIS in Uganda especially in building in-country capacity.
  4. 4.    Ministries of Health in Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, Sierra Leone, Mozambique. The Ministries of Health in the respective countries have set-up BLIS in selected facilities or have expressed interest in the scaling of BLIS. These initiatives will form the nucleus scaling the capacity of BLIS and provide vital lessons that other countries can leverage on.
  5. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). TheDGHT of CDC Atlanta office has been instrumental in the deployment of BLIS in Africa. They have support the implementation efforts of the Strathmore Team with the aim of creating local capacity and Sustainability in the BLIS implementation. The CDC support in building the incountry capacity and community of BLIS users will be vital in this proposed project.

Scaling up Evidence-based Digital Patient-Centered Care: WelTel’s East African Hub

Primary Author: Richard T. Lester
Notice C Opportunity: 
Announcement C0: Global Good Software Development and Support
Application Status: 
Approved - partially funded

Executive Summary:

WelTel is a world leader in evidence-based, patient-centered digital health but struggles like most digital health innovations to reach its potential at scale. The original WelTel solution was developed with PEPFAR support in response to an acute worldwide health crisis when the global effort to provide a lifesaving HIV treatment at the heart of the HIV pandemic began. It was one of the first digital mobile health solutions developed to support patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the first to demonstrate concrete measurable health outcome improvements through a randomized clinical trial (Editor’s Choice, Lancet 2010). Its scope of care has since expanded to include supporting maternal and child health (MNCH), patients with tuberculosis (TB) as well as chronic diseases and primary care. Now operational at small scale in 4 African countries, 2 North American countries, and one European country, and with over 50 direct scientific papers and 2000 citations informing the field of digital health for patient-centered care, it’s time to transform the knowledge to direct impact at larger scale via expanded services and reach, which we intend to do with creation of a consolidated East African hub.


The WelTel product is best categorized as a System and Service Innovation under PATH’s innovation-to-scale platforms: now operating as an innovative and pragmatic software-as-a-service (SaaS) with implementation support. Patients are no longer manually contacted via their mobile phones as in the WelTel Kenya1 trial, but are registered into a secure cloud/server-based platform at their point of care using either an internet connected device (computer, laptop, or smartphone) or even a basic cell phone via SMS commands (essential in most remote African settings). Once registered, patients receive scheduled, simple, open-ended check-in questions via SMS regarding their health status. This innovative “Ask, Don’t Tell” approach (New England Journal of Medicine 2013) not only ensures patients feel cared for rather than told what to do, it provides them the opportunity to self-identify and communicate regarding any health issues. The simple open language-question approach (e.g. “Mambo?” in East Africa, or “How are you?”) ensures maximal inclusion of vulnerable populations since minimal literacy is required for participation. So, despite its simplicity, WelTel is actually more functionally powerful than any competing solution since counselling, provision and interpretation of lab test results, and logistical support can all be provided in individualized and unrestricted context.  Such socially innovative implementation approaches are critical for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although text messaging via SMS forms its base, functionality can be supplemented by voice or video calls at any time when appropriate for additional interactive context. Privacy is maintained in how Personal Health Information is handled and global security standards are met. WelTel’s solution transforms older dated models of outpatient clinic services making them more responsive, effective, and efficient, thereby supporting personalized and differentiated care models by simultaneously improving patient quality-of-life (Lancet Public Health 2018) and health system cost-effectiveness (Medicine 2017).


In efforts to transform evidence-to-action, the lead physician-investigator of WelTel co-founded a corporate social enterprise model, WelTel Incorporated together with WelTel International mHealth Society, to attempt to bring WelTel’s services to more people worldwide. For this application we request Digital Square backing to help set-up WelTel’s organizational home base in East Africa, support the community and ecosystem of resources such as marketing and educational materials, and build out a few critical reporting features to the software that will increase its value proposition to health system investors. PATH’s expertise in bringing innovation to scale will be very welcomed.