Let’s talk mUzima

What is mUzima?

The “m” in mUzima stands for mobile and “Uzima” is a Kiswahili word that means life.

mUzima is an open source android based mobile application for healthcare workers that seamlessly integrates with OpenMRS. mUzima code has been made available for access from the mUzima github. OpenMRS is an open source medical record system.

Why mUzima?

mUzima was developed and first implemented in Kenya, East Africa out of the need for a solution to allow for continuity in healthcare delivery in a low resource clinical setting. With the move towards e-health, Kenya had over 800 implementations of electronic medical record systems (EMRs) all over the country. However, not all facilities could afford to install an EMR and for these, there was a central server where they would send their data. In addition, healthcare workers made frequent home visits in the communities to provide healthcare. The patients identified in these home visits had to eventually be linked to healthcare services at the hospitals. There was however no solution at the moment to allow for centralization of patient data from the remote facilities and home visits while ensuring that one consolidated electronic health record was maintained for each patient.

mUzima was developed, providing that mobile solution that works offline and integrates with OpenMRS, one of the most widely used EMRs in Kenya.  With mUzima, remote facilities can now easily enter patient information and send it to the central server in real time or enter offline and then send later with access to internet. Additionally, healthcare providers who do community visits in areas with poor connectivity are able to collect patient data offline, send it to facilities and easily link patients to healthcare services.

Centralization of patient information enabled by mUzima adopted from https://www.muzima.org/

How does mUzima interact with OpenMRS?

mUzima-OpenMRS interaction adopted from https://www.muzima.org/

The connection to the OpenMRS server enables authentication of mUzima users and also allows the users to search for patients against the server when connected to internet. mUzima allows for download of form templates, concepts, encounter data, cohorts, healthcare provider information, locations and notifications from the server for use by healthcare workers. Once data is collected, data from patient registration and encounters can be sent to the OpenMRS server for integration into the patient records.

Where has mUzima been implemented?

mUzima has been widely implemented in western Kenya in HIV care, and chronic disease management and has been adopted by the Ministry of Health Kenya as an extension of the national medical record system (KenyaEMR) which is a distribution of OpenMRS. mUzima is also being piloted in Mozambique.

How can you get involved in mUzima?

mUzima is open source and therefore has a community just like any other open source software. One can get involved as a documenter, tester, developer, implementer or as an ambassador😊.

  • Join the mUzima mailing list to start participating
  • Visit this site to get started as a developer
  • Visit this site to get started as an implementer

mUzima has a number of projects which community members can contribute to depending on their area of interest.  These include;

  1. mUzima for Healthcare Providers: This is an android application used by healthcare workers during healthcare delivery. This is the main mUzima application that integrates with OpenMRS.
  2. Device Management and Security (DMS): This application was developed to secure mobile devices on which the mUzima for Healthcare Providers application is installed given the sensitivity of the data that is handled. This application offers functionalities like locking devices to a set circumference, remotely locking and or wiping devices that are lost, and monitoring activities on the devices.
  3. mUzima Fingerprint: This module was developed to allow for unique identification of patients at facilities so as to reduce on cases of patient mis-identification and duplication. The module is installed on the OpenMRS server.
  4. Smart Health Register (SHR): This project is aimed at providing for easy mobility of the patient records. It is a functionality available within the mUzima for Health Providers application. A smart card reader is connected to a device on which mUzima is installed and patient records are loaded onto a smart card. Data on the smart card can also be sent to the OpenMRS server.

My work at mUzima as an outreachy intern

The focus for my internship is testing and documentation of the mUzima for Healthcare Providers application. To see how this application works, download the application from play store and connect to the demo server. Instructions can be found here.

As a tester and documenter, I am involved in;

  • Testing tickets

The mUzima programming team is always working in close collaboration with the implementers to make the software better. Therefore, new features are often added, existing features improved and bugs fixed. This therefore requires a team to test the new releases to ensure that they are functioning as expected. Documentation of the test results is done on the mUzima jira.

  • Review of existing documentation

This involves reviewing documentation on the mUzima wiki, website and jira so as to keep it up to date and of good quality.

For jira documentation I am currently working on using the zephyr plugin to make release testing easier and consistent with subsequent releases. The zephyr for jira plugin brings on board the functionality of being able to re-use tests while testing of the different software releases.

Join team mUzima and save lives! 🙂


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