eLearning For Capacity Building of Electronic Public Health Logistics

Aug 31, 2023

For an eHealth system to last, capacity building is essential. It is important to equip healthcare staff with the knowledge and resources necessary to effectively administer eHealth systems, as this will lead to more streamlined and effective procedures and ultimately better service for the communities, they are tasked with serving.

The goal of the USAID electronic Supply Chain Management Information System (eSCMIS) project is to improve health outcomes by increasing the availability and security of necessary medical supplies. This is accomplished by empowering supply chain managers and optimizing supply chain management through the Electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS).

Training for the eLMIS is provided both during and after implementation of the system in Zambian facilities, also through monthly system enhancement webinars, job aids, and recorded video tutorials stored on each eLMIS server. Registered nurse Loreen Mulobeka of the Mindolo Training Farms Urban Health Center in the Kalulushi district of the Copperbelt province says she relies on the eLMIS video tutorials to enhance her eLMIS Skills.

Registered nurse Loreen Mulobeka of the Mindolo Training Farms Urban Health Center in the Kalulushi district of the Copperbelt province

“I initially disregarded our sister in charge’s reassurance that our facility is doing well as merely another of her many attempts to boost my morale. Being a student who is still learning the ins and outs of the eLMIS and making sure that we always submit our reports on time, I didn’t think we were doing that well,” Loreen explains, ” But after hearing Martha, the district pharmacist, praise our facility’s reporting rates and report quality during a visit to the District Health office, I thought to myself, “Wow, what am I doing so exceptional that we are one of the best performing sites in the district?”

Loreen reflects with apprehension and anxieties on her beginning with the eLMIS, “We got deployed with the eLMIS, a little over two years ago. I was nervous about switching to electronic methods because I was unfamiliar with them and unsure of how they might affect our procedures, having only ever known a paper-based system. When the system was deployed to Mindolo Farms Training Urban Health Center, the project’s system implementation officers trained Loreen and the facility supervisor on the job: “after we were trained, my interest really got peaked because the system practically did most of the work for you. I’d have days when I’d call the help desk to get information on how to use a certain feature if I’d forgotten, but this got less and less as time went when I was informed the server contained video tutorials that could teach me how to use the system.” The videos were quite helpful, as they detail how to perform a variety of tasks across all of the system’s program areas, including dispensing medications, conducting physical stock counts, and filing reports. ” The videos have been a lifesaver,” says Loreen, “I used to rely heavily on them, but now I’m more confident in my own skills”.

According to Martha Tembo, the district pharmacist at the Kalulushi District Health Office, “you can just see from the quality of the report, how thorough Loreen is.” Martha further adds, “She is really very good with the system, and she learned how to use it in record time. I enjoy how she utilizes the data.” While our national Logistics system ensures that facilities always have a three-month supply on hand, based on consumption statistics, Loreen takes it a step further by forecasting and quantifying her facilities’ six-month resupply needs. ” You see the area where the health Center is located is usually throat with power outages.  Loreen keeps track of the facility’s consumption every time she uses the system, and she uses that information to forecast what the health Center will require six months from now. This way, if the facility loses power on reporting day, despite the fact that they still have a few days to report, Loreen will send me the data in advance so that we can set aside or anticipate what the facility will require.” The Mindolo Training Farms Urban Health Facility has kept a consistent 100% report timeliness in the last year.

As of March 2023, the USAID eSCMIS Project, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, had deployed the eLMIS to 1465 facilities across the country. The training and support for each deployment is comprehensive and holistic and the project makes sure to leave each facility with resources like the video tutorials. The goal of the project is to create an automated health product logistics system that is well-suited to Zambia’s health logistics infrastructure. As a result, commodity availability across the country will grow, accountability will strengthen, and supply chain visibility will be enhanced for all stakeholders in the public health system.