Ralf Radermacher, Head of Programme for Sector & Global Initiative Social Protection / GIZ
Ralf Radermacher sums up by acknowledging the growth of openIMIS from a software that originally was developed for one specific community-based health fund, to it becoming generic and offering software instances for diverse implementations, and now being a digital public good. “It is really exciting to see openIMIS taking quite a promising direction and to be part of the growing debate on data infrastructure enabled by interoperability standards”. He also acknowledged the growing and diversified community which openIMIS is embedded in. The participation and session contributions during the Steering Group Meeting display this diversity with members from the ILO, UNICEF, World bank, Enabel, BMZ, SDC and the newly created Convergence Initiative in Social Protection as a huge achievement and factor of the openIMIS success. There has been significant progress also made with the growth of the French speaking Toumai community over the past year.
The increased number of use cases for openIMIS is also something to be applauded. openIMIS originated as a software to cater to health insurance in the informal sector, but now caters to the formal sector health insurance schemes, voucher schemes, employment injury insurance and cash transfer schemes.
It is very important that openIMIS and other digital public goods to entertain dialogue with other communities of practice and stakeholders of other public goods. Creating synergies and enforce each other’s solutions is crucial to support as many people (beneficiaries) as possible in a robust manner. Ralf Radermacher further shares his vision that “The dialogue between the different solutions will enable each respective solution to become better and cross-fertilised, to potentially have modules that can be plugged-in the solution of a different provider, eventually catering to multiplicity of options or even something like an open source software suite for social protection, where countries can draw from and plug and play the modules which they need.” The examples of use cases of openIMIS presented during the Steering Group Meeting testify to the fact that the increasing number of stakeholders help the initiative to expand and accelerate the application.
With openIMIS being a digital public good now, the initiative needs to assume more responsibility, i.e. we need to continue to broaden the scope of stakeholders also at the level at the Steering Group. Ralf Radermacher invited participants to join the Steering Group and “spread the word” about the openIMIS initiative: “Do engage with openIMIS in the various communities it has. Do implement and use openIMIS in various contexts, do modify to your needs and develop it further and seek to create interoperability and synergies with it”.
The Convergence Initiative is a go to place for interoperability and for openIMIS it is a way to contribute and adhere to the standards. The openIMIS initiative will continue to contribute to the Convergence Initiative moving forward and the hope is that this will strengthen the positioning of openIMIS and other software solutions as digital public goods, interoperable with other solutions.
The openIMIS initiative will continue to develop and cater to more use cases to fill gaps in the current global software provision, but being mindful of other digital solutions out there, where we can create synergies and avoid duplications.