We are having some challenges with the deployment of our DHIS2 platform in low-connectivity settings and were wondering if anybody else has experienced similar issues and would be willing to share their experiences and any lessons or best practices learned.
We work with partner organizations who are in charge of data entry for their own projects, and some of these are located in places with unstable internet connections. This is one of the reasons why DHIS2 seemed like the perfect tool for our needs, as it is meant to work very well in these types of situations. However, we are finding many challenges. Below are some of the issues we have encountered:
Multiple partners have told us that they have had to enter data several times over as it is not being “saved”. It is a little bit difficult to tell exactly what is going on in these cases, as they report the problems after the fact, however, it seems to be related to intermittent internet connections. Our theory is that the data they enter offline after their connection cuts out is not being uploaded for some reason. This is the really the biggest issue we are facing, as it is creating additional work burdens for our partners’ staff and causing resentment towards the DHIS2 platform, while we are still in the early stages of deployment and trying to build trust and confidence in the system.
We have had some cases where partners will be offline for some time and continue entering data, in this case the system signs them out and then they report that the data they entered is lost.
In general, we have found that if the internet connection is lost, if you close the data entry page or navigate away from it, the data that has been entered into the datasets disappears. I am not sure if it is still stored somewhere in the cache and gets uploaded once the internet connection is restored, however, this is not very helpful for someone entering data who will see that their data is gone and try to re-enter it. Our guidance has been that you should not close the browser page or navigate away if you lose your internet connection.
It is confusing for people that if they are entering data offline and the data entry box turns greens, it does not mean that their data is saved in the server as it is just being stored locally - this is a point that always creates confusion when we explain it in our trainings.
If anyone else has experienced similar challenges with their deployment and would be willing to discuss the strategies they have found to mitigate them, please let us know.
Thanks in advance!