I presented at the DHIS2 Conference!

My this year’s GSoC journey is in its third week. I spent the week developing an E2E test for the patient registration page and presenting my findings to the quality assurance team. Aside from that, it was a memorable week in my OpenMRS journey; I presented at the Digital DHIS2 Annual Conference!

DHIS2 (District Health Information Software 2) is an open-source software platform developed by the Health Information Systems Programme for data reporting, analysis, and dissemination across all health programs. The DHIS2 Annual Conference is the largest yearly event for DHIS2 and allows the global DHIS2 community — a broad array of implementers, developers, ministry representatives, technical partners, donors, and other DHIS2 experts from around the world — to meet and share experiences with DHIS2, learn about the latest developments and innovations, and make connections that can lead to future opportunities.

This is how it went down…

My GSoC project from last year was to devise a proper method for integrating OpenMRS with DHIS2. I wanted to continue working on my GSoC project after I finished it. There was, however, a stumbling block. Developers were less likely to contribute to the project because DHIS2 had a steep learning curve. Besides that, OpenMRS developers were preoccupied with their day-to-day tasks at OpenMRS. So I trained some enthusiastic university students who were completely new to OpenMRS and taught them the fundamentals of both OpenMRS and DHIS2. It was a little more difficult at first, but I knew the effort would be worthwhile. They were much smarter and quickly became acquainted with the platform. We created a backlog for the module and began planning sprints to implement it. Joseph Kaweesi; my current GSoC mentor, helped a lot when improving the module.

The OpenMRS covid squad was where we displayed our progress. On the squad, we presented our sprint updates weekly. The Covid Squad won Demo of the Month for our showcase video and was named the best squad at the OpenMRS monthly squad showcase.

I reached a significant milestone along the way. It was getting promoted to level 3 developer and appointed as the module leader of the DHIS2 connector module. I had the opportunity to present our progress at the OpenMRS conference. In addition, I co-hosted a session on the OpenMRS DHIS2 integration at the conference with Ian Bacher.

Over time, we were able to add two Google Summer of Code projects under the module. Heshan and Piumal, two of the group’s brightest students, were able to get selected as GSoC students for those two projects.

One day, Grace Potma, the Director of Product, approached me and Piumal at the COVID squad call and said, “Hey, Jayasanka and Piumal! This year’s DHIS2 conference has been announced. Shall we submit an abstract? Would you like to present if we are chosen?”. “Of course!” I exclaimed. She then submitted an abstract to DHIS2. In fact, she is the one who did all of the groundwork in applying for it.

After a few weeks, we received an email informing us that our abstract had been chosen for the conference’s Interoperability session! We were ecstatic! Our presentation was scheduled for Wednesday, June 23rd, at 14:00 CEST. Piumal and I began our preparations by creating a slide deck and content. It was a little challenging because we had to keep our presentation to 15 minutes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was entirely digital this year. However, it enabled many more participants from all over the world to join. There were over 1500 attendees representing 125 countries. Piumal and I were fortunate to be two of the conference’s 182 speakers. Here’s a video of the presentation we gave. Unfortunately, zoom has only recorded the screen. It didn’t capture our faces. xD


Here are some of the responses:

Some of the responses received right after the presentation

I am honoured to be a speaker at the DHIS2 conference as well as to be a part of OpenMRS. Thanks, Grace for all your effort that made me at the top!