Automating the import of health and demographic surveillance system data from ODK to OpenHDS using Mirth Connect

Iwara I. Arikpo, Ideba M. Ekinya


Health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) are community-based platforms that collect longitudinal data on core demographic and socioeconomic indices as well as key health indicators at regular intervals within defined geographical populations. These systems were previously paper-based. However, the advent of electronic data collection and processing with heterogeneous technologies has posed a problem for data validation and integration. This paper describes the development of ETL channels for automated import of HDSS data from ODK to OpenHDS. The setting was the Cross River HDSS, University of Calabar, South-south Nigeria with a surveillance population of 37,808. Data collection by Fieldworkers was done with Android smartphones running the ODK Collect, while the Supervisors used Android tablets devices to review data prior to submission to an intermediate cloud-based ODK Aggregate server. The validated data was serviced by the OpenHDS and resided on MySQL server maintained locally at the Data Centre.  Channels were developed in Mirth Connect to read field data from ODK, validate against the OpenHDS repository and insert onto MySQL database, rejecting inconsistent data when found. Twenty-six channels were developed, tested and deployed for import of data onto the OpenHDS. With contextual modification, this tool can be extended to other health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSSs) under the INDEPTH Network.


mirth connect; mobile devices; data collection; extract transform load; database; OpenHDS; server

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