Health policy workshop
ORF HEALTH FORUM
Free and open source software and standards for public health information systems in India: “Making them work” by bridging the policy-practice gap
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, notified in 2015 that a policy to prefer the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in all central government departments and ministries will be in place, with use of Closed Source Software (CSS) only being considered as an exception with sufficient justification. This policy decision is termed as a watershed moment for open source in India. Through a number of related policies, the government wants to promote reuse of existing developed applications as well as Open Standards for software interoperability across various government departments and agencies.
The implementation of SDGs has made data requirements within the health sector more diverse, and a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) driven Health Management Information System (HMIS) can play a key role in improving data quality and availability. The broad aim of the two-day workshop is to identify policy-practice gaps with respect to using FOSS based health information system applications and standards, and approaches to address them.
So, too, with the infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality ratio (MMR). Kanpur Nagar district in western UP had an IMR of 37 in 2012-13, which was better than the Indian average (42). UP’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 258, but Meerut mandal in western UP (including urban NOIDA and Ghaziabad) had an MMR of 151, better than the Indian average, although Devi Patan mandal, 600 km to the south-east had an MMR of 366, worse than Ethiopia and Haiti.
While UP may appear to be a monolith of Hindi-speaking, overwhelmingly poor people with some of India’s worst health parameters, as the second part of this series told us, a district-level analysis by Observer Research Foundation, using data from the Annual Health Survey (AHS 2012-13)-the latest available-reveals that India’s most-populous state has almost continental style variations in its healthcare system and indicators. The latest data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2015-16) for UP will be released only after the elections, scheduled for February 11 onwards.
The Annual Health Survey (AHS) of 2012-13 covered 21 million people across nine large, low-performing Indian states and close to five million people in Uttar Pradesh alone. The AHS remains the world’s largest household sample survey, with its sample size greater than the population of Sri Lanka.
The themes to be discussed include:
* The policy landscape in India with respect to free and open source software and standards in the public health sector.
* Experiences with using free and open source software and standards in the public health sector, and the learnings.
* Global experiences with the use of free and open source software and standards in the public health sector.
* Recommendations to help address the policy-practice gap around FOSS use for the Indian public health system.
Clickhere to read the agenda.
The workshop is being organised in association with the University of Oslo and HISP India.