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The following note comes from Mike and Ulf, two Swedish colleagues that implemented GNU Health in Tanzania. The specific institution is Nkinga Hospital. Mike and Ulf have been part of the GH commuity for years. I met personally Mike at the GNUHealthCon 2019 in Brussels. Their work is phenomenal.

The title of his document was “How to Implement GNU Health in Tanzania in 10 days”. We’re very thankful to them for sharing this very inspiring story, and hope is a lesson to all of us!


It all started with that we had studied free software and networks at universities in our spare time for a few years. When we had finished the studies we decided to do something with the knowledge we got. We got in contact with Nkinga hospital in Tanzania and we decided to help them to build the IT-infrastructure.
In September 2011, we went to Tanzania to build a computer network to be able and communicate internal and share documents in the hospital. We set up Wi-Fi points, installed servers and educated technicians.
In August 2014, we traveled to Nkinga to extend the network and set up a PACS server and computers for reviewing x-ray pictures.

Our goal with this project was to implement GNU Health at the hospital in short time.
The system consists of one server, one spare server, a backup server and about 30 workstations spread out at the hospital. The project also included training of the hospital’s users and to educate technicians to manage the system and network with our remote support.

undefinedWe planned to introduce the system in 10 days and expected to start using some basic modules. When the basic modules worked, the plan was to continue implementing more modules . In order to manage to deploy the system at Nkinga in the short time, a medicine manager and an economist from the hospital visited us in Östersund for two weeks to prepare the implementation.

When the two personnel went back to the hospital they arranged training sessions for different personnel groups and was a cornerstone for the implementation of the project.
During the first day of using GNU Health, it was discovered where it did not work as it should. For example, it became a bottleneck in the front desk where patients ensign themselves. In the first three days, in parallel with GNU Health, the hospital used paper. In the evening, the data on paper were
fed into the system.
Over the next few days, we moved around the hospital and instructed staff how to use the system. Not everyone was used to computer so it took some time. Everyone in the hospital has been very helpful and we worked up to 16 hours every day.

In the first few days after we got home, the hospital contacted us daily about issues that arose and together we solved them. For every week that passed, the problems decreased. After 4 weeks of running GNU Health everything run smoothly. We have weekly telephone meeting to discuss
various issues. At the hospital they have worked very intensively with the training of staff and to optimize the flow. The understanding of the benefits of the hospital system is increasing all the time. The preparation of implementing GNU Health took us approximate one year.

Examples of work done during ten days:

  • Expanded computer network
  • Installed 25 new computers
  • Assembled and installed 3 servers
  • Training of users
  • Training of Technicians
  • Installed a number of routers and switches
  • During 10 days we (seven people) worked at total 820 hours .

For the implementation of GNU Health, we have purchased hardware for about 8000 EUR sponsored by an aid organization. We shipped 25 used computers and network equipment that we received from different companies.
After 2 months of using GNU Health, 2083 patients was enrolled in the system, 1873 appointments performed, 80 users worked in the system, 1600 invoices print, etc.

GNU Health has been running since November 2017 with only minor disturbance.

Pictures from Mike & Ulf blog (https://nkingahospital2017.wordpress.com/)