Collective Expertise: MOH Staff Leading the Charge in eLMIS Mastery and Support

Jun 28, 2024

MOH-Led Issue Resolution

In creating WhatsApp groups for Zambia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) district and health facility staff, the USAID Electronic Supply Chain Management Information System (eSCMIS) project has showcased the strength of internal collaboration among MOH staff in resolving issues related to eLMIS. Instead of relying solely on external support from the USAID eSCMIS project help desk, MOH staff have embraced a self-sufficient approach. Through the provincial eLMIS WhatsApp groups, MOH staff have become each other’s go-to resource for assistance, marking a significant shift in their ability to independently address eLMIS challenges.

The provincial eLMIS WhatsApp groups facilitate immediate communication and have become vibrant virtual spaces where MOH staff connect, share insights, and collaboratively troubleshoot eLMIS issues. This internal support network has empowered MOH staff to rely on each other for timely and efficient issue resolution. This shift signifies a newfound confidence and expertise among MOH staff, who have, through collaborative efforts, become adept at navigating the intricacies of the eLMIS system.

eLMIS users sharing troubleshooting tips and best practices in WhatsApp group

Gift Hapenga, who previously served as a Lab Manager at Mansa General Hospital, is one of the active participants in the provincial WhatsApp groups. He shares that he is able to provide assistance to his colleagues via WhatsApp due to the knowledge he gained through orientation and training from the eSCMIS project. He says: “The trainings I received from the project, combined with hands-on experience through OJT and my keen interest, allowed me to identify gaps at the facility. I ensured that health facility staff not only used the system but also used it correctly and were able to troubleshoot issues and submit quality reports.”

Collective Learning Culture

The collaborative environment within the provincial eLMIS WhatsApp groups has cultivated a culture of collective and continuous learning. MOH staff actively share best practices, insights into effective system utilization, and tips for preparing high-quality reports. This knowledge exchange has both strengthened individual capacities and elevated the collective expertise of the MOH workforce in managing eLMIS challenges and utilizing eLMIS-generated reports for decision-making and overall improvement of data quality.

As Gift Hapenga emphasizes: “There are different people with different strengths and experiences in the groups, so it gives an opportunity for the users to share and learn from each other’s experiences. For example, a person may have experienced an issue before and may know how to resolve it, so they can help peers without them having to call the help desk.”

Reduced Reliance on External Support

Gift Hapenga, Logistics Systems Strengthening Specialist

The success of the WhatsApp groups has led to a reduction in reliance on the eSCMIS project for issue resolution. MOH staff, equipped with enhanced skills and internal support, are now less dependent on external support from the eLMIS help desk. This allows the eSCMIS project to focus on introducing broader system enhancements and providing strategic support.

The eLMIS help desk is sometimes congested, so being able to share issues through the WhatsApp groups helps people get help quicker, as there are some experienced people in the groups who help address issues,” Gift explains.

Impact on Health Facility Operations

MOH staff are committed to sustaining and enhancing their self-sufficiency in managing eLMIS challenges. The empowered MOH staff have played a pivotal role in improving operational efficiency. Timely issue resolution means uninterrupted supply chain management, ensuring the availability of essential medical supplies. Proficiency in report preparation contributes to data-driven decision-making, which reinforces the MOH’s commitment to delivering quality health care services.

The provincial eLMIS WhatsApp groups serve as a model for others to cultivate internal support networks, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and knowledge sharing. By leveraging internal expertise and collaborative platforms, MOH staff are moving away from relying on external support and becoming empowered problem-solvers.