A primary goal of MEPI is to increase the capacity and retention of doctors in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to measure the success of MEPI in achieving this goal, MEPI schools must be able to track their graduates to assess the effectiveness of strategies to retain graduates at posts in underserved areas as well as the adequacy of training for them to work in such areas. The concept of the “educational home” for 21st century health professionals highlights the emerging and essential need for educational institutions to stay connected with their graduates. This is particularly important where there are severe health workforce shortages. A well-trained, diverse health workforce is vital to meet the Millennium Development Goals, achieve an AIDS-Free Generation, support family planning goals, and end preventable child and maternal deaths.
In 2013, a participatory approach involving medical professional councils and the MEPI Tracking TWG identified the functionality and attributes needed to meet graduate tracking objectives which identified the need for the development of graduate tracking software to help the schools with tracking their graduates. At the same time, the software maintains interoperability with the open source iHRIS software systems used by professional councils and ministries of health. Schools can use and customize the resulting open source software system for free.
In 2014, the MEPI Connect graduate tracking software was reviewed, tested, and finalized for customization by participating schools. Several MEPI institutions are now customizing, installing, and deploying the software, helping the schools to remain connected with their graduates.