OpenMRS Implementers Meeting 2016 Experience

I have procrastinated for a long time about writing this. Especially since I’ve been busy with GCI16 mentoring, OpenMRS help desk, internship and other personal adventures. But its finally here.

I have been around OpenMRS for two years now since I saw an OpenMRS flyer in a friends note book I borrowed. Can’t remember what the flyer was about though, but that is how I got to know OpenMRS.

My contributions to OpenMRS involves bug fixes and implementing new features. I also help other community members especially new comers with the technical issues they are having since I had much help to from the community when I was starting. And community members like Daniel Kayiwa would not sleep unless my problem was solved. It felt good giving back to the community. I participated for my first in GSoC as a student with OpenMRS. Currently I’m a GCI-2016 Mentor with OpenMRS. I am also one of the help desk managers at OpenMRS. Where I coordinate cases and make sure issues are responded to by the right team and in time. I also follow up with issue creators to make sure their problems are solved and they are satisfied or if they need more assistance.

My story about the OpenMRS 2016 implementers meeting began a little after GSoC 2016. After I had passed the final evaluations, few weeks later I received a mail my mentor Judy Gichoya telling me about a mail from Google Summer of Code which says she can endorse her GSoC student for a $500 travel stipend to attend any conference. Knowing much about my desire to attend conferences and also to finally meet the OpenMRS Community physically, she told me to apply for the stipend and also apply for an OpenMRS Scholarship which I did. The $500 stipend was approved within 24 hours but due to the massive amount of OpenMRS scholarship applicantions my approval came about 6 weeks after my application. I received a mail from Jeff Neiman about my scholarship approval. OpenMRS funded my flight expenses, hotel reservation for 6 days at the Speke Resort, Muyonyo and my conference registration.

I arrived Uganda on the 6th of December 2016 and suprisenly OpenMRS had already arranged for my transportation from the airport.

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The drive from the airport to the hotel where the conference was taking place was a long one and 1 hour later I finally met with the OpenMRS community members in person. This was  a really amazing experience. I introduced my self to everyone I recognized, Jan Flowers,Darius Jazayeri , Burke Mamlin, Sri Maurya Kummamuru, Daniel Kayiwa, Kawesi Joseph, Jeff Neiman, Paul Biondich, Theresa Cullen, Suranga Kasthurirathne, Mike Seaton, etc, etc. The list is really long. It was so nice to finally meet all of them. The OpenMRS community is like no other I’ve seen. I’m glad to be part of this awesome community.

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Me, Sri Maurya Kummamuru, Darius Jazayeri (from left to right)

Conference started with the singing of the Uganda national anthem.

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Photo by Jeff Neiman

I enjoyed the sessions. I learnt a lot about OpenMRS and Bahmni. And now I perfectly sure of which distribution I need to start an OpenMRS implementation here in Cameroon.

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Photo taken just before the start of unconference sessions.
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Shruthi Pitta from Bahmni talk about Bahmni distribution.

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We also visited sites using OpenMRS. My group visited the Kisugu Health Centre.

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Uganda EMR in use.

Listening to Matthew Ssemakadde lead a session about OpeMRS education was really awesome. We talked about how make the OpenMRS implementers and developer certifications successful.

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OpenMRS Certification Program session

Unlike most conferences, OpenMRS 2016 was not only about talk, talk, talk. There was also entertainment. There was football match of Uganda vs The rest of the world which I think ended in a draw. I last played football in primary school. Which is about 10 years ago. So yes I’m not in field. lol

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We also had entertainment during dinner at the Lake side on Thursday Dec 8.

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Photo download from Burkes twitter post

We all dressed in our OpenMRS T-shirt in time for the group photosczjpubjusaa5ylq

I volunteered to lead the OpenMRS hackerthon with a tutorial for using the OpenMRS SDK which I ended up learning a lot my self.

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Shruthi Pitta submitted her first pull request to openmrs after fixing a bug during the hackerthon.

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The hackerthon ended the last day Sunday Dec 11, 2016 with good bye selfies.

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Selfie taken by Tadeo

The experience was an amazing one and I say a big thank you to OpenMRS for the funding to attend and Google for the travel stipend. This wouldn’t have been possible without them.

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