Online Program

In Tanzania: How the mobile technology improves supply chain visibility and commodity availability

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Noela Kisoka, Systems Strengthening, John Snow Inc., Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Alpha Nsaghurwe, Management Information Systems, John Snow Inc., Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Nuran Idris, Management Information Systems, John Snow Inc., Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Background: In Tanzania, availability of high quality logistics data has been one of the greatest challenges facing the healthcare system. Without data, decision makers cannot adequately manage the supply chain. The successful implementation of an integrated logistics system (ILS) by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), with technical support from the USAID|DELIVER PROJECT, put in place a single system with a common set of standard operating procedures.

Purpose: ILSGateway is a mobile and web based reporting system, built on top of the RapidSMS platform which is an open source. It was designed to use existing phones owned by workers at the health facilities partly because the preparatory work showed the widespread availability of mobile phones at health facilities. Leveraging this existing resource can keep costs down, thereby increasing the likelihood of sustainability and country-wide scale-up. Methods: Using SMS-based technology, the ILSGateway provides real-time stock status information on commodities to decision makers throughout the supply chain. At scheduled intervals, staff use personal mobile phones to send SMSs to a toll-free code to report key logistics information. Data collected is then displayed on an interactive web-based interface. The ILS Gateway was piloted in 2010 in one region South of Tanzania with an initial commodity list of six reproductive health commodities. The list subsequently expanded to 20 commodities identified by the MOHSW. Results: Of the facilities implementing the ILSGateway: •88% timeliness reporting rate •45% increased availability of family planning commodities •91% maintain availability of malaria treatment Discussions: 32%+ SDPs use the mobile reporting system. The system is being rolled out to reach all 5000+ SDPs in Tanzania. The enhanced visibility is helping district managers gain a better understanding of supply chain performance for facilities they supervise. In future, this mobile system will link with other automated health systems currently being developed.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate how mobile technology can be used to improve logistics data visibility especially in resource limited settings Understand the role of accessibility and visibility of logistics data in informing supply chain decision making Discuss how mobile technology positively impacts the Integrated Logistics System (ILS) in Tanzania, through improved timeliness and accuracy of paper based ordering and reporting from service delivery points (SDPs)

Keyword(s): Health Information Systems, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been an integral part of the ILSGateway development since its inception.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.