On a day like this, October 12th, 2008, I registered the “Medical” project at SourceForge. Fourteen years later, GNU Health has become the Libre digital health ecosystem used by governments, hospitals, laboratories, research institutions and health professionals around the globe.
I want to sincerely thank all the professionals who believed in the project since early on… from small clinics in the African rain forest, to many public primary care institutions in Argentina, to the largest hospital in India and Asia (AIIMS).
Institutions such as the University of Entre Rios in Argentina, Leibniz University Hanover, the United Nations Institute for Global Health, the World Health organization and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Digital Public Goods Alliance, have helped the GNU Health project, by providing training, implementations or valuable resources in areas related to coding standards and medical genetics.
Many thanks to our sponsors, particularly Thymbra and openSUSE who have been supporting GNU Health since day one, sponsoring our annual congress (GNUHealthCon). In addition, openSUSE has donated raspberry pi devices for development and for implementation projects, as well as packaging GNU Health for their distribution. Thank you Fosshost, for all this years of hosting the GNU Health HMIS and the BigBlueButton for our conferences!
Thank you European Open Source Observatory Repository (OSOR) / Joinup and the Free Software Foundation Europe for your work in making GNU Health a reality in Europe, specially in the Public Health sector.
Immense gratitude to the GNU operating system, particularly, to Richard Stallman -father of the Free Software movement- who in 2011 declared GNU Health an official GNU project. Since that day, all the components of the GH ecosystem are hosted in Savannah.
The GNU Health ecosystem would not exist today without the Libre Software community. Excellent Libre projects like Tryton, LibreOffice, PostgreSQL, Flask, Python, GNUPG, Apache, and many others make GNU Health a reality. We’re so happy to count with our sister community Orthanc, a great Libre Medical Imaging project that makes the perfect GNU Health partner in hospital settings and diagnostic imaging.
Last but not least: Thank you to the core team and to the community around the world: Developers, testers, translators, artists, documentation team, podcasters and journalists … I can not name you all… but the success of GNU Health belongs to you.
On a day like this, 14 years ago, the revolution for freedom and equity in healthcare began. And this is just starting…. at GNU Solidario, we’ll keep on advancing Social Medicine, and fighting so health remains a non-negotiable human right, no matter where you live. After all, GNU Health is a Social project with a little bit of technology behind.
We are very proud to announce that the GNU Health project has been declared a Digital Public Good by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA). GNU Solidario received the announcement this Sunday, April 3rd 2022.
The Digital Public Goods Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative endorsed by the United Nations Secretary-General, working to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in low-and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods.
Current board members of the DPGA include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Sierra Leone, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), iSPIRT, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) , and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The goal of the DPGA and its registry is to promote digital public goods in order to create a more equitable world. Being recognized as a DPG increases the visibility, support for, and prominence of open projects that have the potential to tackle global challenges.
After its nomination to become a Digital Public Good project, GNU Health had to pass the requirements of the DPGA standards. As the DPGA states :
The Digital Public Goods Standard is a set of specifications and guidelines designed to maximise consensus about whether a digital solution conforms to the definition of a digital public good: open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable best practices, do no harm by design and are of high relevance for attainment of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This definition stems from the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.
Digital Public Good Standards
At GNU Solidario and GNU Health we are humbled and very happy with this recognition, and accept it with profound commitment, responsibility and determination. It makes us work even harder to keep on fighting for the advancement of Social Medicine, and to give voice to the voiceless around the world.
About GNU Health
GNU Health is a Libre, community driven project from GNU Solidario, a non-profit humanitarian organization focused on Social Medicine. Our project has been adopted by public and private health institutions and laboratories, multilateral organizations and national public health systems around the world.
The GNU Health project provides the tools for individuals, health professionals, institutions and governments to proactively assess and improve the underlying determinants of health, from the socioeconomic agents to the molecular basis of disease. From primary health care to precision medicine.
The following are the main components that make up the GNU Health ecosystem:
Social Medicine and Public Health
Hospital Management (HMIS)
Laboratory Management (Occhiolino)
Personal Health Record (MyGNUHealth)
Bioinformatics and Medical Genetics
Thalamus and Federated health networks
GNU Health embedded on Single Board devices
GNU Health is a Free/Libre, community-driven project from GNU Solidario, that counts with a large and friendly international community. GNU Solidario celebrates GNU Health Con and the International Workshop on e-Health in Emerging Economies (IWEEE) every year, that gathers the GNU Health and social medicine advocates from around the world.
GNU Health is a GNU (www.gnu.org) official package, awarded with the Free Software Foundantion award of Social benefit, among others. GNU Health has been adopted by many hospitals, governments and multilateral organizations around the globe.
GNU Solidario and Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) are now partners in GNU Health, the Libre digital health ecosystem.
This agreement makes the German university a member of the GNU Health Alliance of academic and research institutions, to work on the research and development of GNU Health, the award-winning Libre digital health ecosystem.
The partnership was signed on February 2nd, 2022, by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt, head of the Computational Health Informatics department at Leibniz Universität Hannover and Dr. Luis Falcón, president of GNU Solidario.
We are excited and looking forward to cooperate and research in areas such as privacy, distributed health networks, bioinformatics, hospital management or Personal Health Records. Leibniz Universität Hannover has been using the GNU Health Hospital Management System component for quite sometime now internally, in their health informatics department. This agreement will boost even more the adoption of the libre health ecosystem.
Leibniz Universität Hannover is a reference for the adoption of GNU Health in European universities, serving as a model of open science and free/libre software in public academic institutions. Moreover, being part of the GNU Health Alliance of Academic and Research Institutions opens up horizons to collaborate with other universities around the world.
We are positive that this agreement will help promoting the adoption of GNU Health and Libre Software within the healthcare system and biomedical research in Europe.
About Leibniz Universität Hannover:
The Leibniz University Hannover, long form in German Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, is a public research university located in Hanover, Germany. Founded on 2 May 1831, it is one of the largest and oldest science and technology universities in Germany. It has nine faculties which offer 190 full and part degree programs in 38 fields of study.It was named University of Hannover in 1978. In 2006, it was named after Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the 18th century mathematician and philosopher. In 2018, Leibniz University Hannover was adopted as the official English name.
Leibniz University Hannover is a member of TU9, an association of the nine leading Institutes of Technology in Germany. It is also a member of the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER), a non-profit association of leading engineering universities in Europe. The university sponsors the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), the largest science and technology library in the world
The GNU Health Alliance of Academic and Research Institutions is a GNU Solidario program comprising a global network of academic and research institutions around the world with the mission of provide a sustainable solutions to the current social and biomedical challenges, using GNU Health and Free Software components.
Yesterday, yet another devastating earthquake hit the southern area of Haiti.
Immediately knowing about the earthquake, we contacted our representative in Haiti, Pierre MichelAugustin, and started an emergency humanitarian response in coordination with our team in the country .
Haiti suffers from recurrent natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes). In the last years, Haiti has also been a victim of structural poverty and civil unrest. Haitians are strong, resilient, noble people. Haiti is the land of the free and the brave (see my post “My trip to Haiti, the land of the Free and the Brave” ), yet it seems like the world has forgotten about Haiti.
We need emergency response now, but we also need to work on Social Medicine, and tackle the socioeconomic determinants that are the root cause of the structural poverty in Haiti. Only then, our Haitians brothers and sisters will be able to recover the dignity that they deserve, and grow in prosperity. We need to create the conditions, working the local community in the country to strengthen the public health and education system. GNU Health is part of this program.
Our local representative, engineer Pierre Michel Augustin, has been working in the localization of GNU Health, and by the end of 2021, we will have the GNU Health node fully operational in Limbé. The Haiti GNU Health office will provide training and support to the local and regional health professionals and institutions.
Natural disasters have a profound impact in the short, medium and long period in any nation. The situation gets much worse when they hit impoverished nations. So, in the short term, we will put all the effort to tackle this emergency and save lives. For the medium and long term, we will continue the GNU Health node in Haiti and building the GNU Health Federation in the country, in cooperation with the local team, academic and health institutions.
Creating local capacity is key to make the project sustainable. Resources will be dedicated to build the infrastructure (hardware, network..), but the main focus and effort will be on building local capacity, and training the local team to make them independent and build a sustainable and ethical model.
In the end, technology is just a medium, and GNU Health is a social project that uses really cool Free/Libre technologyand open science, for the betterment of our societies.
Please consider helping GNU Solidario humanitarian campaign in Haiti, by visiting the following link:
GNU Solidario is a non-profit humanitarian organization focused on Social Medicine. We have missions around the globe, and our projects has been adopted by health institutions, multilateral organizations and national public health systems around the world.
GNU Solidario is the organization behind GNU Health, the award winning Free / Libre digital health ecosystem, that provides a Hospital Management System, a Lab Information System, a Personal Health Record and a distributed, Federated health network.
GNU Health is a GNU official project ( see www.gnu.org), licensed under the GNU General Public License, GPL v3+
MyGNUHealth 1.0 us out! The GNU Health Libre Personal Health Record is now ready for prime time!
This is great news. Great news because citizens around the world have now access to a Free/Libre application, focused on privacy, that puts them in control of their health.
Health is personal, so is the health data. It’s been years since I got the idea of expanding the GNU Health ecosystem, not only to the health professionals and institutions, but making it personal, accessible to individuals. Now is a reality!
Throughout these years, the mobile health (mHealth) has been governed by private companies that benefit from your health data. Private companies, private insurances, proprietary operating systems, proprietary health applications. Big business, no privacy.
GNU and Libre Software
The GNU Health ecosystem exists because of Free software. Thanks to communities such as GNU, we can have fully operational operating systems, desktop environments, databases and programming languages that allow us to use and write free software. GNU Health is one example.
The Libre Software movement fights for the advancement of our societies, by providing universality in computing. In the case of GNU Health, that freedom and equity in computing is applied into the healthcare and social medicine domains. Health is a non-negotiable human right, so it must be health informatics.
What is MyGNUHealth?
MyGNUHealth (MyGH)is a Health Personal Record application focused in privacy, that can be used in desktops and mobile devices.
MyGH embraces the main health domains (bio-psycho-social). All the components in the GNU Health ecosystem combine social medicine and primary care with the latest on bioinformatics and precision medicine. The complex interactions between these health domains play a key role in the state of health and disease of an individual, family and society.
MyGH has the functionality of a health and activity tracker, and that of a health diary / record. It records and tracks the main anthropometric and physiological measures, such as weight, blood pressure, blood sugar level or oxygen saturation. It keeps track of your lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, and sleep, with numerous charts to visualize the trends.
MyGNUHealth is also a diary, that records all relevant information from the medical and social domain and their context. In the medical domain, you can record your encounters, immunizations, hospitalizations, lab tests,genetic and family history, among others. In the genetic context, MyGH provides a dataset of over 30000 natural variants / SNP from UniProt that are relevant in human. Entering the RefSNP will automatically provide the information about that particular variant and it clinical significance.
The Social domain, contains the key social determinants of health (Social Gradient, Early life development, Stress, Social exclusion, Working conditions, Education, Physical environment, Unemployment, Social Support, Addiction, Food, Transportation, Health services, Family functionality, Family violence, Bullying, War) , most of them from the World Health Organization social determinants of health.
A very important feature of MyGH is that it is GNU Health Federation. That is, if you want to share any of this data with your health professional in real-time, and they will be able to study it.
The PinePhone and the revolution in mobile computing
Of course, in a world of mobile phones and mobile computing, we need free/libre mobile applications. The problem I was facing until recently, that prevented me from writing MyGNUHealth, was the fact that there was no libre mobile environment. The mobile computing market has been dominated by Google and Apple, which both deliver proprietary operating systems, Android and iOS respectively.
The irruption of the Pine64 community was the eye-opener and a game changer. A thriving community of talented people, determined to provide freedom in mobile computing. The Pine64 provides, among others, a smartphone (PinePhone), and a smartwatch (PineTime), and I have adopted both.
I wrote an article some weeks ago (“Liberating our mobile computing”), where I mentioned why I have changed the Android phone to the PinePhone, and my watch to the PineTime.
Does the PinePhone have the best camera? Can we compare the PinePhone with Apple or Google products? It’s hard to compare a multi-billion dollar corporation with a fresh, community-oriented project. The business model, the technology components and the ethics behind are very different.
So, why making the move? I made the change because we, as a society, need to embrace a technology that is universal and that respects our freedom and privacy. A technology that focuses on the individual and not in the corporation. That moves takes determination and commitment. There is a small price to pay, but freedom and privacy are priceless.
As a physician, I need to provide my patients the resources that use state-of-the-art technology, and, at the same time, guarantee the privacy of their sensitive medical information. Libre software and open standards are key in healthcare. When my patients choose free/libre software, they have full control. They also have the possibility to share it with me or with other health professionals, in real-time and with the highest levels of privacy.
We can only manage sensitive health data with technology that respects our privacy. In other words, we can not put our personal information in the hands of corporate interests. Choosing Libre Software and Hardware means much more than just technology. Libre Software means embracing solidarity and cooperation. It means sharing knowledge, code and time with others. It means embracing open science for the advancement of our societies, specially for those that need it most.
MyGNUHealth will be included by default in many operating systems and distributions, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details. Just use your health companion! If your operating system does not have MyGH in their repositories, please ask them to include it.
Governments, institutions, and health professional need affordable technology that respects their citizens freedom. We need you to be part of this eHealth revolution.
Happy and healthy hacking!
MyGNUHealth is part of the GNU Health, the Libre digital health ecosystem. GNU Health is from GNU Solidario, a humanitarian, non-for-profit organization focused on the advancement of Social Medicine. GNU Solidario develops health applications and uses exclusively Free/Libre software. GNU Health is an official GNU project.