Document Management System for the Department of HIV and AIDS, Malawi MoH

How can a Ministry of Health distribute data, reports and documents across a wide network of partners and stakeholders in a secure, controlled and efficient manner?

Public Health Data Harmonisation
Software Engineering
Stakeholder Liaison
Software Requirements Specification
Python, Javascript, CKAN, Clound Infrastructure
Web Development

Document Management System for the Development of HIV and AIDS, Malawi MoH

Client: Dept. HIV & AIDS, Ministry of Health, Malawi, funded by UNAIDS
Project size: $90 000+
Timeline: 2021 – Present

The MOH in Malawi has similar aims and objectives to many other MOHs around the world…

Their vision: To achieve a state of health for all the people of Malawi that would enable them to lead a quality and productive life

Their mission: To provide strategic leadership for the delivery of a comprehensive range of quality, equitable and efficient health services to all people in Malawi by creating an enabling environment for health promoting activities.

The Department of HIV, AIDS & Viral Hepatitis (DHA) was established in 2001 under the MOH and carries responsibility for various HIV & Viral Hepatitis programs across Malawi.

Context

Ministries of Health (MOHs) are responsible for collecting increasingly large amounts of health related data. Many, especially in low and middle income countries, struggle to share the outputs of these programs with their many national and international partners in a secure, controlled and efficient way. Fjelltopp helped the MOH in Malawi adopt CKAN, an industry leading open-source platform, to support their data dissemination efforts.

The DHA works with many NGOs (such as UNAIDS), universities, government departments, local partners and MoH staff, in order to fight HIV, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis across Malawi. Having already recognised the challenges of sharing data and reports with so many partners, the department had worked to implement a system they called the “Document Management System” (DMS). The aim of this tailor-built system was to provide a one-stop-shop to access all of the public datasets, reports and documents the department had prepared.

Problem

The DHA works with many NGOs (such as UNAIDS), universities, government departments, local partners and MoH staff, in order to fight HIV, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis across Malawi. Having already recognised the challenges of sharing data and reports with so many partners, the department had worked to implement a system they called the “Document Management System” (DMS). The aim of this tailor-built system was to provide a one-stop-shop to access all of the public datasets, reports and documents the department had prepared.

Unfortunately the original DMS was faced with many bugs and performance issues. Partners were struggling to access the files that they needed, resulting in department staff being inundated with emails and requests for data and reports.

Having seen our work with UNAIDS Geneva on the AIDS Data Repository, and having read a little about the industry leading open-source CKAN platform, the DHA reached out to Fjelltopp to see if we could help.

Solutions

CKAN is already used by the NHS in the UK, as well as the UK, American, US, Canadian, Australian, and Swiss governments (to name but a few). Fjelltopp has worked on multiple CKAN projects within the health sector. We believe that CKAN will prove a powerful tool for Ministries of Health in many low and middle income countries, especially as we see many struggling with data dissemination at this time. Fjelltopp therefore jumped at the opportunity to work with the MOH in Malawi on this project, and after some searching, we managed to secure generous funding from UNAIDS.

Fjelltopp began by sitting down with DHA staff to outline the project requirements. The brief was to build an open source data repository, where non-technical staff could upload, organise and administer access to a large catalogue of datasets, reports and documents. Many of their requirements could be delivered “out of the box” by CKAN or one of CKAN’s many pre-existing extensions, but a few features would require tailored development:

SMS and email notifications concerning updates and changes made to datasets.

  • Import of existing data in the old DMS
  • Tailored metadata for cataloguing datasets and reports
  • Tailored branding and UX
  • A fresh revamp of their Joomla! powered department website

Results

  • The client has a safe and centralised place to archive their finalised datasets, reports and documents, with automated backups and disaster recovery measures. The client retains complete ownership of all data in their system.
  • A wide variety of user-friendly tools are provided to help the client organise the data into a catalogue that is searchable by partners and stakeholders.
  • The ability for users to sign up to notifications regarding publication of new documents, or updates made to existing documents.
  • The potential to restrict data access on a per account basis to specific individuals, or teams of individuals.
  • A fully featured API for automated interoperability with third party systems such as DHIS2, or for scripting bulk operations upon the data catalogue.
  • The client has joined a thriving worldwide community of CKAN users. They are not vendor-locked into using Fjelltopp services, and do not pay any licence fees for their system.
  • A brand new mobile-friendly website with improved features and security patches.

What our client said about us

“Working with Fjelltopp has been a pleasure. The team is responsive to our technical needs, has quickly picked up the complexities of our substantive work, and has been forward-thinking by identifying solutions that our clients will appreciate.”

Dr Mary Mahy, Epidemiology Team Lead, UNAIDS Geneva

Contact us now if you need a consolidated space to validate, archive and share your data.

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