Innovations spanning food supplies, medical records and PPE manufacture were today included in the final three awards made by Mozilla from its COVID-19 Solutions Fund. The Fund was established at the end of March by the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS), to offer up to $50,000 each to open source technology projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In just two months, the Fund received 163 applicants from 30 countries and is now closed to new applications.
OpenMRS is a robust, scalable, user-driven, open source electronic medical record system platform currently used to manage more than 12.6 million patients at over 5,500 health facilities in 64 countries. Using Kenya as a primary use case, their COVID-19 Response project will coordinate work on OpenMRS COVID-19 solutions emerging from their community, particularly “pop-up” hospitals, into a COVID-19 package for immediate use.
This package will be built for eventual re-use as a foundation for a suite of tools that will become the OpenMRS Public Health Response distribution. Science-based data collection tools, reports, and data exchange interfaces with other key systems in the public health sector will provide critical information needed to contain disease outbreaks. The committee approved an award of $49,754.
Open Food Network offers an open source platform enabling new, ethical supply chains. Food producers can sell online directly to consumers and wholesalers can manage buying groups and supply produce through networks of food hubs and shops. Communities can bring together producers to create a virtual farmers’ market, building a resilient local food economy.
At a time when supply chains are being disrupted around the world — resulting in both food waste and shortages — they’re helping to get food to people in need. Globally, the Open Food Network is currently deployed in India, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, Australia, the UK, the US and five other countries. They plan to use their award to extend to ten other countries, build tools to allow vendors to better control inventory, and scale up their support infrastructure as they continue international expansion. The Committee approved a $45,210 award.
Careables Casa Criatura Olinda in northeast Brazil is producing face shields for local hospitals based on an open source design. With their award, they plan to increase their production of face shields as well as to start producing aerosol boxes using an open source design, developed in partnership with local healthcare professionals.
Outside of North American ICUs, many hospitals cannot maintain only one patient per room, protected by physical walls and doors. In such cases, aerosol boxes are critical to prevent the spread of the virus from patient to patient and patient to physician. Yet even the Brazilian city of Recife (population: 1.56 million), has only three aerosol boxes. The Committee has approved a $25,000 award and authorized up to an additional $5,000 to help the organization spread the word about their aerosol box design.
“Healthcare has for too long been assumed to be too high risk for open source development. These awards highlight how critical open source technologies are to helping communities around the world to cope with the pandemic,” said Jochai Ben-Avie, Head of International Public Policy and Administrator of the Program at Mozilla. “We are indebted to the talented global community of open source developers who have found such vital ways to put our support to good use.”
Information on the first three recipients from the Fund can be found here.