Charting a New Course: Eastern Province Is the First Province to Lead Health Care Transformation with Information Mobilized for Performance Analysis and Continuous Transformation (IMPACT) Teams

May 22, 2024

The sails of transformative change have caught the wind in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The province has become the first in Zambia where the meetings of District Medicines and Therapeutic Committees (DMTCs) incorporate the work of IMPACT teams, thus marking a crucial milestone in efforts to strengthen the health care supply chain. The eSCMIS project’s IMPACT teams strategy aims to ensure supply chain information is consumed and analyzed using a quality improvement approach which addresses performance and efforts to improve performance.

The IMPACT teams strategy, taking a dynamic and people-driven approach, has empowered supply chain managers across different levels to collaborate on enhancing product availability, reducing waste, and collectively implementing innovative supply chain solutions. Using this MOH-approved strategy as their compass, district, provincial, and national IMPACT teams are not only interpreting data but also prioritizing problem areas and taking actionable steps to improve performance.

The IMPACT teams are not merely conduits for data analysis; their primary purpose is to ensure that supply chain information is consumed and analyzed through this quality improvement approach. This approach, focused on data-driven decision-making, prioritizes problem-solving and data analysis at every level of the health system. The overarching objectives include improving supply chain performance as well as building local capacity, fostering ownership, and encouraging the setting and monitoring of performance goals.

For Eastern Province, the journey commenced with an orientation meeting that drew health care staff and champions of eLMIS from various health facilities. During this inaugural meeting, the USAID eSCMIS project, along with the MOH, oriented those present on the IMPACT strategy’s key objectives and expected outcomes. The IMPACT teams’ mission—to bridge supply chain gaps by proactively resolving challenges at the ground level—was made clear. This emphasizes a hands-on approach rather than waiting for directives from higher authorities. The orientation also covered the IMPACT teams’ constitution, defining roles and responsibilities, communication mechanisms between various supply chain levels, activity action planning, and follow-ups. Importantly, it was noted that the IMPACT teams would seamlessly integrate into the existing DMTC meetings.

These DMTC meetings, which convene on a standing monthly basis in Eastern Province, are ideal for the frequent addressing of supply chain matters—an essential element for successful implementation of the IMPACT strategy. The alignment with DMTC meetings ensures that supply chain issues are regularly tabled and addressed, fostering an approach geared toward continuous improvement within the health care system.

Jameson Muyumba, Laboratory Technologist, Kapata Urban Clinic, Chipata

Jameson Muyumba, a Laboratory Technologist from Kapata Urban Clinic in Chipata, shares his enthusiasm for being part of the IMPACT team, explaining that it “is great because we’re ensuring our system for managing medicines works well.” He emphasizes the assignment of specific roles within the teams and the fact that each facility has a knowledgeable point person (a super-user). Jameson also underscores the teams’ proactive role in ensuring timely and quality report submissions, and averting issues like the expiration of medicines.

Jameson and his fellow team members are eager to collaborate with all facilities to elevate health care standards. With champions like Jameson employing innovative solutions, the future promises a health care system that not only responds adeptly to challenges but also improves quality of care.

The collaborative spirit is not limited to the meeting room. Jameson reveals plans for continued teamwork: “We must explore methods of collaboration that encompass all locations, including those at a distance. Another meeting is scheduled to address this matter.” To facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration, the IMPACT teams created WhatsApp groups for seamless communication.

As Eastern Province leads the way in implementing IMPACT teams, the province stands as a guiding light, directing health care supply chain management in Zambia toward newfound efficiency and accessibility. With dedicated champions like Jameson, armed with innovative solutions, the future promises a health care system that is both responsive to needs and resilient in the face of challenges.