mHBS as a potential LibreHealth project

Hello everyone–

I am a Faculty member at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal medicine section. I am also an international mentor, on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for a group of newborn care programs called Helping Babies Survive.

Helping Babies Survive (HBS) programs and a coordinated maternal care program, Helping Mothers Survive (Jhpiego), are under the umbrella of the Survive and Thrive Global Developmental Alliance. The Survive and Thrive GDA includes partners such as Amerian Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), USAID, Laerdal Global Health, Save the Children, PATH, and Johnson and Johnson.

As part of my work with the AAP and Survive and Thrive GDA, my small team and I developed an ODK-based mobile phone app for data collection related to Helping Babies Breathe; we conducted successful proof-of-concept testing of the prototype–called mHBB–in Kenya ( pp. 46-47 )

We are currently involved in a follow-up effort, funded by a different Survive and Thrive GDA partner, to identify potential partners and opportunities for additional development and scale-up of the app, initially within East Africa, and then globally.

I think that LibreHealth might potentially be a terrific partner for additional development of the app, with the immediate short-term goal of scaling up within East Africa (within the next 12-18 months), then, in addition to rolling out within additional African sites, also scaling up in Asian HBS implementation countries such as Bangladesh and India.

Some reasons why I believe that LibreHealth might be an ideal collaborative partner:

–The Survive and Thrive GDA (i.e., key potential funding partners) is keenly interested in this app being further developed using open source technology.

–mHBB/mHBS are being developed according to the Principles for Digital Development, with which the LibreHealth principles and policies are also aligned.

–In addition, a long-range goal for mHBB (now evolving to “mHBS,” to reflect a broader range of functionalities for support of all the HBS curricula), is to integrate with national HMIS systems such as DHIMS2. Some of the data we envison collecting via mHBS would also potentially integrate with iHRIS.

–There is currently a global push, via the Every Newborn Action Plan, toward developing standardized indicators specific to newborn health which, in turn, will be integrated into national health systems (the point above) to strengthen the capacity for national and international partners to capture key metrics related to newborn care. The work/vision of LibreHealth and mHBS align with this WHO-sponsored initiative. To my knowledge, there is not currently another open source community working on this particular aspect of aligning ENAP indicators (still under development) with national HMIS.

I am wondering if the LibreHealth community might be interested in partnering with me to evolve mHBS to the next level, and beyond, with the goal of creating a collaborative, sustainable, feasible, acceptable, and effective open source platform by which to support the implementation of Helping Babies Survive newborn care programs around the globe. I, myself, am not a programmer…I know absolutely nothing about coding. That is where I need to be scaffolded by the knowledge and expertise of the LibreHealth community.

What I bring to the table is a very deep and broad understanding of the programs and curricula that mHBS is designed to support–I was a member of the Editorial committees for all 3 of the newborn care curricula, and I am a Master Trainer who has conducted these courses all over the world.

Having worked in Kenya and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa for the past 12 years, and as a co-investigator on studies that also have sites in Guatemala, Pakistan, and India, I also have a very good understanding of the LMIC settings where mHBS will need to be deployed when it is scaled.

Through my work with AAP, USAID, WHO, Save the Children, Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, and the UN Commision for Lifesaving Commodites Technical Working Group on Neonatal Resuscitation, I have a rich and deep network of potential collaborators, donors, and partners at the local, national, and international levels.

Finally, as a note as to potential impact: Helping Babies Breathe, the first HBS program to roll-out in 2010, is currently disseminated in over 80 countries worldwide. The 2 other HBS programs, released in 2014 (Essential Care for Every Baby) and 2015 (Essential Care for Small Babies) are also on track for this rapid, worldwide dissemination. mHBS is purpose-built to be a digital tool to support HBS programs; thus, there is already a “built in market” for mHBS scale-up.

I look forward to our continuing discussion.




Hello Sherri so nice to read this post

I am taking charge to lead our team to help you get on librehealth . It’s a learning process for all of us. One of the first things we should do is schedule a call to be able to flash out a proper plan for engagement . Let me know your availability and any other member can join in

Look forward to working with you

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We should not do calls if we can avoid it. This is one of the problems we are aiming to fix that happened with OpenMRS.

Thanks so much, Judy! I would be glad to continue the conversation with you and others (as interested/time allows) to exchange more information and develop a plan for engagement. Any venue is okay by me, whatever the group deems to be the most efficient and effective route of communication. Best, Sherri

For those who are interested, here is a link to the mHBB case study (pp. 46-47), briefly describing results from the proof-of-concept study that we conducted in Kenya mhealth compendium volume 5


Dear @shbucher,

Sorry, this has taken this long for us to respond to your request. I am happy to be a sponsor, as well as a mentor for your project in the incubation process. LibreHealth Toolkit will be a related project that will be linked with mHBS, and we will need to project proposal with the following point that I have copied here from the GOVERNANCE document:

The project proposal is a document that is published on and describes:

  • What the project is aiming to achieve, i.e., the project charter and project goals,
  • What components/code and in which code lines (new or components in other projects) the project aims to deliver,
  • Key dependencies on other LibreHealth projects or teams, if applicable,
  • A list of initial maintainers, if applicable,
  • A lists of any interested parties in the project, if applicable,
  • A lists of any planned initial code contributions, if applicable, and
  • A rough plan on how to get through the Incubation phase.

One important aspect that has been outlined in our Project Governance is that there should be no dissent from the community, for me to be a sponsor. Other members of the @lsc might also want to chime in, if we are ready to incubate mHBS as a LibreHealth project?

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FWIW I am supportive and thankful to Saptarshi for volunteering to sponsor. Project looks like it has some potential.

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Agree , the mHBS project would be a great addition to the LIbreHealth community and bring in new contributors

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I too am a strong yes on this.

This is tremendously exciting! I would be utterly delighted to partner with LibreHealth on this initiative. Thank you, Saptarshi, Michael, Judy, and Robby for your support!