My first journey with Bahmni to Bangladesh — a personal insight
Bahmni, an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Hospital Management System (HMS) is an Open Source product based on OpenMRS, OpenERP and OpenELIS. I am currently part of the Bahmni development team at ThoughtWorks. From the moment I started working on Bahmni, I fell in love with the work I do.
I was super happy when I was asked to travel for an implementation of Bahmni. Who would not be longing for an onsite experience to do more of what she already loves? I am a believer in the saying of Swami Vivekananda:
We may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth, until we experience it ourselves. you cannot hope to make a man a surgeon by simply giving him a few books. You cannot satisfy my curiosity to see a country by showing me a map. I must have practical experience.
The long wait for such an opportunity made my travel more exciting and meaningful. Also since this was my first international travel, I was heady with nervousness and excitement. Finally on Feb-24–2016, a Wednesday, it was time to travel. I can’t forget that blissful day when my desperation to go to Bangladesh finally turned to reality.
My parents have a habit of coming along with me for all the first events in my life; like my first day in school, first day in college, first day in office, etc. Therefore, my first international travel was not going to be treated any differently! They came all the way to Hyderabad from Rajamundry, along with my uncle, to ensure my safe send off : )
My flight from Hyderabad to Kolkata left on time, at 8.45 A.M. But there was a delay in take off from Kolkata. However, finally I managed to reach Dhaka, Bangladesh at 2.30 A.M local time. Few of my ThoughtWorks colleagues from Bangalore office, also arrived in Dhaka about the same time as me. I was glad to see them!
E-Rickshaws and CNG of Dhaka
I fell in love with E-Rickshaws at the first sight. One gets to see different rickshaws each with their own unique identities and designs. The amazing feeling when the cool breeze tickles your face while riding a rickshaw that drives faster than a Ferrari is unforgettable. This was our daily mode of transport from the hotel to the Hospital and back.
Just like in India, Dhaka also has auto-rickshaws. They call them CNG. And unlike India, CNGs have a grill-mesh that encages the passengers. It is hilarious to sit in one. A must try!
Gazipur Sadar Hospital
Having spent a day in Dhaka, we travelled to Joydebpur, Gazipur District to visit the Gazipur Sadar Hospital. We spent about 3 weeks in Gazipur for implementing Bahmni in the hospital.
Gazipur Sadar Hospital is a Secondary level Health Facility with a 100 beds, and has been recently renamed to Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital. It is planned to become a Tertiary level hospital with an increased capacity of 500 beds soon.
The hospital is visited by nearly 600 patients a day in the span of 6 hours i.e from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm. Even though the hospital currently accommodates 100 beds but in-fact there are situations when even these beds are insufficient for the admitted patients and thus the patients have to occupy the verandah. This made me feel sad.
Most of the staff in the hospital who would use Bahmni, were not very comfortable with the mouse and keyboard although an initial basic computer training was already given to them before we arrived. It was very hard for them to move the mouse to point to something on the screen and type using the keyboard. Some of them were very enthusiastic to learn and use the system. Their passion and willingness to learn gave us energy and much needed motivation. Working closely with the end users of Bahmni, gave me a much better understanding of their requirements and brought in a different perspective towards challenges and needs of users of Bahmni.
While we were at hospital we used to sit in the registration room for setting up the servers, make modifications to software based on requirements, etc. It was very common for people to walk into the registration room to check if the registration is open. So the first Bengali Phrase I learnt was “Ticket deva shesh” which means “Registration is closed”. It felt funny to utter the same phrase over and over again to whoever came in to the Registration room.
One learning I carry back with me is to be patient and maintain peace of mind. There were instances when the technical issues seemed unsolvable throughout the night, but on coming back early in the morning with a calm state of mind helped solve the issues with ease.
You can’t buy happiness but you can buy coffee and that’s pretty close. I am glad that i never missed my cup-of-coffee and thus my happiness : )
The cute little dog at the hospital wagging its tail with its heart reminds me of what people say: “The reason a dog has so many friends is that it wags its tail instead of its tongue”.
My visit to Gazipur has left me speechless but in the end, it turned me into a storyteller. This is my first blog about my first implementation of Bahmni during my first international travel. I loved every part of it. And, I hope to have more personal stories to share in the future.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of ThoughtWorks.