National Evaluation Platform Custom Data Import App to DHIS 2

Institute for International Programs - Johns Hopkins University, 2015 - present


We developed a custom data import application to connect to the DHIS 2 platform which allows for the import, organization, storage, display and analysis of data from multiple sources. Our application helped address existing challenges with program evaluation of large-scale maternal and child health and nutrition programs in four African countries - Mali, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The Client

The National Evaluation Platform (NEP) was developed by the Institute of International Programs - JHU in response to existing challenges with large-scale program evaluation of maternal and child health and nutrition programs and heightened needs for accountability.

Improving program evaluation leads to sustainable capacity

According to the Institute of International Programs at JHU, countries need stronger program evaluation and planning processes to empower them to build sustainable capacity and to hold themselves accountable.

The NEP aims to address this challenge in Mali, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The objective is to compile evaluation-related data into one data system so that researchers and program implementers can use the information to address government program and policy questions. The targeted audience for the data system is the “Home Institution” in each country, estimated at 5-10 users per country.

DHIS 2 platform supports the NEP data system

We facilitated the creation of a fully-functional NEP data system on the DHIS 2 platform, an open source health management information system, for each of the four African countries. Used at various levels in more than 45 countries, DHIS 2 allows for the storage of survey, routine and other data in a hierarchical structure, e.g., by district > household > women > child, based on the level at which the data were collected or made available.

The NEP Custom Data Import App we developed for the NEP data system allows users to import, organize, integrate, analyze, display and store data from multiple sources, including household/facility surveys, routine health management information systems (HMIS) and other health data. Users can query and display NEP data system indicators by different stratifiers such as district/region, maternal education and child gender.

Following the initial build phase, we have continued to work on the NEP Custom Data Import App to add functionality and ensure compatibility with the latest version of DHIS 2. New features requested have included:

Develop a data repository functionality through modification to the NEP Custom Import App to allow automatic storing of the codebook and data files

  • Provide scoping and business analysis services for R integration including a functioning demo illustrating data flow from DHIS 2 into R and output back for visualization
  • Genericize Program Stage functionality to allow for broader scope of data to be imported into the system
  • Add program, survey and dataset deletion
  • Upgrade for compatibility to DHIS 2 Version 2.25

Technologies used

  • DHIS 2 Web API
  • Java / Grails / Groovy
  • JQuery
  • PostgreSQL