There are 42 tribes in Kenya , each with an interesting history of how children are named. The Luo community for example names children based on the season and the time when the child was born. For example ‘-chieng’ refers to ‘noon time’, and thus a boy born at noon would be named Ochieng while a girl named ‘Achieng’.

The Kikuyu community on the other hand inherits names, first born children are named after paternal grandparents then maternal grandparents and later uncles and aunts. For example , i was named after my paternal grandmother as Wawira . Therefore i share a name with all other cousins named after my maternal grandmother. In modern times, most children will have an English or Christian name.

As we go through school and are required to enroll for national examinations , then we are asked for a surname and most students will pick a third name from their father , and occasionally from mothers.

Thus my name ‘ Judy Wawira Gichoya ‘ represents a christian/English name, my maternal grandmothers name and a surname for official registration for school and for documents. These names are not strictly used in this order , and vary in the context of introduction - As a doctor i am ‘Dr. Gichoya’, and to friends abroad i am ‘Judy’ , and in my village in Embu as ‘Wawira’.


Modern patient matching systems were built for organised societies that identify with a first name , middle name and last name ; with specific national identifiers like a social security number or a universal identifier. These remain impractical for developing countries like Kenya where name transposition is common , names are shared hence high rates of redundancy, without unified national identifiers and accurate physical addresses.

As an informatician , I sought to work on improving the patient identification. Working with OpenMRS , an open source medical records system deployed in over 42 countries , working with the Muzima, the mobile interface for OpenMRS.



  1. An OpenMRS installation / server - see detailed instructions here
  2. Ensure you have Muzima modules installed including a. muzimafingerPrint Module b. Muzima Registration Module c. Muzima Forms Module d. Muzima Consultation Module e. Muzima Processor Module
  3. Setup the fingerprint SDK on your local installation : Download here
  4. Update java settings as below a. Java console - Show console b. JNLP file/MIME Association - Always Allow c. Secure Execution Environment - Allow user to accept JNLP security requests

Java settings

Add your site an exception to allow the browser to run the applet. use the Java settings page to do this by clicking on Security > Exception Site List > Edit Site List

Specific client installation for the Mac

  1. Unzip the file
  2. Double click on “NeurotecBiometricTrial.pkg” it will install the SDK in your system
  3. Open the terminal and go to location /Neurotec_Biometric_5_0_SDK_Trial/Bin/MacOSX_universal/Activation
  4. Run the command “sudo ./ start” . This command must be run every time you are working using the application.
  5. Give your system password
  6. it should give below output message

``` starting pgd… pgd run log (/Library/Logs/pgd.log): —————————————- 2015-01-19 15:48:41 Starting PG (revision: 124780, mode: single, trial) 2015-01-19 15:48:41 Darwin Vikass-MacBook-Pro.local 13.4.0 Darwin Kernel Version 13.4.0: Sun Aug 17 19:50:11 PDT 2014; root:xnu-2422.115.4~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64 2015-01-19 15:48:41 PG started (pid: 4490). —————————————-


After that reopen the fingerprint module.

Launch the fingerprint module from muzima page Admin page

It shows the page below .Remember to Always allow plugins to run the applet

Click on Scan to search for a patient. If the patient is not found , then click on Register


1. End java applet

Go to Preferences

End the Hello World Applet

Error 2. Cannot find license

If you are using the trial version , it is not unusual to see the following error. This is related to your trial license so click OK

If the Scan window appears as below , then you have not run the Activation screen

Run the command "sudo ./ start"


Happy testing ! Leave me feedback by creating an issue here or tweeting me @judywawira