First Local iHRIS Developer Training Course Conducted in Tanzania

A locally led and initiated iHRIS developer training course, with focus on customization and localization, was conducted in Tanzania on October 28–31. The event was funded by the Tanzania Human Resource Capacity Project (THRCP), a new Capacity Project Associate Award led by IntraHealth, and facilitated by the University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM). Over twenty local developers attended, from both Mainland and Zanzibar Ministries of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC), USDM, and the Prime Minister’s Office of Regional and Local Government (PMO-RALG). Participants represented the key stakeholders in the country’s strategy to have a functional HRIS that captures and aggregates data on all of Tanzania’s health workers from the national, private and faith-based sectors.

iHRIS Manage, HR management software developed by the Capacity Project,  is already installed at CSSC and Zanzibar’s MoHSW, and PMO-RALG has committed to installing it at the Mainland district level. Given this, the goal of the training was to further the developers’ understanding of iHRIS Manage and for them to become comfortable modifying it and creating customized reports.

Dr. Juma Lungo of USDM, an experienced Open Source educator, led the training with the help of Bakari Rashid, systems administrator at UDSM, and Seleman Ally, head of ICT at the Zanzibar MoHSW. Pulling from their global experience, the Capacity Project iHRIS developers collaborated with them to design the syllabus. Developers worked together on a practice space set up on Launchpad, the site that hosts the iHRIS software. Using this method, the participants were able to develop new skills to bring back to their respective organizations and, most importantly, began to form a national developer community to support each other and collaborate going forward. This training built on the work and goals of the Capacity Project, which aimed to create HRsoftware products that could be easily installed and used by in-country stakeholders, and to establish a global community of Open Source developers to sustain the software beyond the Project.

The trainers introduced the developers to the Linux/Ubuntu Open Source platform and explained how to install the Ubuntu operating system and work with the iHRIS Appliance.  Next, developers learned iHRIS Manage administration by installing it, setting up an appropriate database backup, creating users, choosing passwords and assigning roles. The trainers demonstrated how to update the software to newer versions, stressing the importance of first creating a backup and using a test server.

The trainers explained the iHRIS software architecture, going over the modular approach and form and field structure. A large diagram mapping the data relationships was created and displayed for reference. Understanding forms and fields set the stage for developers to learn how to create the custom reports required for Tanzania.

During the training, the developers became very familiar working with Launchpad. Each individual created a personal account, found where the iHRIS code is posted and practiced checking out and committing code. Finally, the developers reviewed the translation section on Launchpad and were encouraged to start translating iHRIS Manage into Swahili.

This was the first local developer training conducted on the iHRIS software. Following the training, Bakari Bakari, IntraHealth’s local HRIS program manager, stated “It was a wonderful, great start that we can amplify.” Indeed, this training can be modified and replicated not only in Tanzania but in other countries as well, allowing additional groups of local developers to gain experience working with iHRIS and customizing it to meet their specific country’s needs.

For more information about HRIS strengthening in Tanzania, read the Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar success stories.