Beginning in 2008 with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, PATH utilized the collaborative requirements development methodology (CRDM) to identify health information system requirements across multiple countries, laying the groundwork for OpenLMIS feature development (see the final report). In 2011, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funding to VillageReach to launch the OpenLMIS initiative. Around the same time, the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Zambia Ministry of Health, with the support of JSI through the USAID | DELIVER Project, utilized the CRDM to develop their set of requirements for a new electronic LMIS that could be customized, configured and deployed in their respective countries.
In the fall of 2012, with strong ongoing guidance provided by the Tanzania and Zambia ministries of health and JSI through the USAID | DELIVER Project, VillageReach and ThoughtWorks began development on the first release of OpenLMIS. Significant contributions from PATH, USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, and others shaped OpenLMIS. JSI customized and extended the initial OpenLMIS code base for national deployments in Tanzania and Zambia in late 2013 under the name “eLMIS.”
As new installations of OpenLMIS were developed and deployed, implementers separated the code base, or forked the code, to meet country specific requirements. In an effort to support a single core codebase and provide enhanced extensibility, the community agreed to re-design the system in a service-based, API-driven, modular approach. This effort is referred to as the “re-architecture” of OpenLMIS. By re-architecting OpenLMIS, the product better enables contribution and maximizes shared benefit by promoting core reuse and transferrable customizations across implementations. The end result is a powerful, flexible product that emphasizes interoperability, extensibility, and performance at scale across countries, programs and products.
OpenLMIS version 3 was released on March 1, 2017. Subsequent dot releases will then follow later in 2017. Visit the Product Roadmap for details on these upcoming releases and their features.
OpenLMIS has proven to be an effective solution and has successfully debuted as a robust and usable system now deployed in five countries: Tanzania, Zambia, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique. Since the initial concept was developed, the OpenLMIS platform has become a multi-country, multi-donor, multi-implementer open source community driven by these partners. This community is committed to shared learning and shared benefit with the goal of continually improving the performance of health supply chains in low- and middle-income countries through improved data visibility and utilization. OpenLMIS core developers within the community continue to improve the software and welcome community participation in the development effort. A number of additional countries, including Malawi are in the early stages of implementation planning. With each new implementation, OpenLMIS builds on its community expertise while continuing to strengthen health information systems worldwide.