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Project Buendia is an open-source medical record system designed for relief missions. It was originally created by MSF, Google Crisis Response, and a group of volunteers in response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Project Buendia launches a nutrition mission

MSF UK has launched an open source mission to build field-ready technology to improve the clinical effectiveness of large-scale nutrition programmes across Africa.

Get involved August – November 2015 and help save lives.

Join the mission

How we began, amidst the biggest Ebola outbreak in history

In September 2014, at the height of the Ebola crisis, a group of tech volunteers came together to see how they could use their skills to help Médecins Sans Frontières address this devastating epidemic.

A team of engineers from Google’s Crisis Response team and other volunteers responded, creating the first open-source electronic medical records system uniquely designed for these harsh conditions: no internet, unreliable power, sweltering temperatures, and the strictest of biohazard safety procedures.

Please see GitHub for all project documentation and source code.

Server unit: runs on batteries that last for a week.
Built on OpenMRS; automatic backup to USB stick.
No Internet needed. Minimal administration.
Tablet: fully immersible in 0.5% chlorine.
Wireless charging. Sturdy casing with
hand grips for portrait or landscape mode.
User interface: large text and touch targets; clear layout;
emphasis on critical data for patient care decisions.
Easy navigation; quick data entry and editing;
data syncs across server and all tablets within minutes.

The Nutrition Mission

Now we’re uniting again to help clinicians save lives.

When children suffer from acute malnutrition, their immune systems are so impaired that the risk of death is greatly increased. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malnutrition is the single greatest threat to the world’s public health, with 178 million malnourished children across the globe.

Malnutrition is an important childhood killer. Primarily affecting children under 5 years old in low-income settings, it sometimes results from food scarcity (famine) but more often as a result of poor access to hygiene and health care. A child who does not have access to clean water and adequate primary health care, and who may be already underweight, is vulnerable to infections which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. This turn leads to more weight loss, increasing vulnerability to further infection, and in some cases leading to a vicious cycle from which the child cannot recover without medical assistance. Below a certain level of weight and health, a child’s body is no longer capable of digesting ordinary food and will die without support.

Humanitarian interventions aim to interrupt this process, providing the child with specialized therapeutic foods that can be absorbed even by a very ill body as well as other support such as antibiotics to fight infections. This is done in Therapeutic Feeding Centres (TFCs). Outpatient (Ambulatory or ATFC) facilities treat the 90% or so of patients who can be treated during weekly visits, and Inpatient (ITFC) clinics provide 24-hour care and intensive medical management for the roughly 10% of children at risk of imminent death.

There are three main ways we can help save lives in nutritional projects:

  1. Improve quality of care in inpatient programmes: The quality of care in ITFCs can be improved by providing clinical consultants with a more readable patient chart, more data with less errors, and an interface which facilitates following the most effective medical protocols.
  2. Improve reach of outpatient programmes: The reach of ATFCs (the number of children that can be cared for by a given team) can be extended by reducing paperwork and administrative burden, facilitating clinical efficiency by transferring information between stages of the clinical care, and allowing less highly-trained and specialized local staff to provide an adequate level of care.
  3. Improve clinical understanding of malnutrition: Current nutrition projects rarely have the time and resources to make a permanent electronic record of the condition and evolution of their patients. An electronic medical record system, even if fundamentally built to improve clinical care rather than intended as a research tool, allows the capture of a much greater volume and quality of patient data, allowing medical managers and researchers to improve their understanding of malnutrition, compare clinical outcomes, and improve medical protocols.

Join the mission!

Developer (part-time / voluntary)

We're currently growing the open source developer community and seeking individuals who want to make ongoing contributions. If you have experience in any or all of Java, Android, HTML/Javascript, OpenMRS, Tomcat and Intel Edison and you're interested in working on humanitarian tools on an unpaid internship or voluntary basis, get in touch.

Apply as a part-time contributor or volunteer

Health and nutrition practitioners

Have you worked in nutrition? We're seeking doctors, nurses, nutritionists and others, especially those who’ve worked in paediatrics, nutrition programmes or medical humanitarian settings, to join our experts and users panel. You'll be among the first to try out what we're building and contribute to making sure it fits your needs in caring for patients.

Join the panel
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