WHO and Red Hat partner for open source pandemic response assistance

As a result of the collaboration between the WHO and Red Hat, an open source development infrastructure is being created to support the development of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) for the recently established WHO Academy.

Development practices are being sourced from Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, Open Practice Library, and other community hubs to build a DevOps platform for assistance with managing, testing builds, analysing code, and data visualisation for healthcare workers.

With data relating to Covid-19 being rapidly updated on an almost daily basis, the infrastructure will allow for faster access to relevant healthcare knowledge, as well as reducing misinformation.

Realising that digital capabilities within healthcare needed improvement, the WHO also sought to lay out the groundwork for a new open data model that can meet health workers’ future needs, including offering more personalised learning experiences.

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Infrastructure components

The new platform will be run entirely on Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies, including OpenShift and CodeReady Workspaces, offering the WHO a scalable, flexible and more secure platform.

OpenShift provides the cloud-native foundation, an environment suitable for building and deploying containerised applications and capabilities for assessing application metrics, and agnostic scaling capabilities.

CodeReady Workspaces, meanwhile, will provide developers a fast and reliable Kubernetes development foundation.

By basing the infrastructure on open source technology, emerging architectures and applications can be adopted iteratively and incrementally, allowing for real-time leverage.

Project discussions

During an eight-week virtual residency with Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, the WHO team worked collaboratively with Red Hat experts to find ways to help organisations increase development agility and speed with the combination of people, practices and technology.

As part of the initiative, the WHO Information Management and Technology team have looked to adopt new Agile methodology, lean product development and DevOps practices, alongside its existing project management approach, to ensure current and future scalability.

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“The World Health Organisation has long led the way when it comes to creating innovative solutions for public health resources,” said Hans Roth, senior vice-president and general manager, global services at Red Hat.

“It was an honour to work with the WHO on developing an open source platform that has the potential to shape how the world responds not only to the Covid crisis, but to future healthcare adversity.

“With the help of Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, the WHO broke down traditional IT barriers by replacing them with DevOps practices and solved challenges through collaboration, hard work and innovative thinking.

“Ultimately, the agency, along with Red Hat’s support, has created a robust DevOps platform that can more efficiently provide knowledge to healthcare professionals around the world.”

Bernardo Mariano, chief information officer and director, digital health at the WHO, commented: “Working with Red Hat Open Innovation Labs provided a more flexible and responsive approach for creating solutions using open source technologies.

“We were able to build a DevOps platform that can not only deliver relevant, timely Covid-related information and knowledge to health workers globally, but one that can also scale and adapt to their future needs.”

See also: Global life science supply chains in a post-pandemic world – Tim Groulx, senior director and AI and IoT lead for North America at Avanade, spoke to Information Age about how global life science supply chains will leverage digital technologies post-pandemic

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.