Evidence-based Decision Making for an Efficient Supply Chain

Apr 30, 2021

Zambia has made significant strides in establishing data-driven supply chain decision-making through the electronic logistics management information system (eLMIS). This software has been systematically implemented and collects high-quality data that is consumable at all levels of the health supply chain. These evidence-based decisions made by supply chain managers lead to action that aids strategic planning and clinical improvements. Easily accessible supply chain data has been able to bridge gaps between health facilities in commodity supply and help find local solutions for supply chain problems.

On March 12, Zambia celebrates Youth Day with musical performances, sports activities, workshops, and marches. Public health entities and advocates use holidays like Youth Day to raise awareness on issues such as gender-based violence, family planning, and HIV. This includes mass testing programs, which translate to a spike in the consumption of HIV-related health commodities such as test kits. “This has been a trend for years; the average monthly consumption for HIV-related commodities tends to be high in March. We see a large number of clients because of how many activities we tend to have during Youth Day. By observing data in the eLMIS, we have been able to forecast accurate consumption data based on patterns we’ve seen over the years,” says Mr. Lovely Soneka, a pharmacist from Boma Rural Health Center in the Mufumbwe district of North-Western Province, Zambia.

As shown in Figures 1 and 2, national consumption trends of HIV test kits have become predictable, aiding supply chain managers in data visualization for strategic planning. Readily available data are integral to making efficient health commodity supply chain decisions, without which commodity availability is unreliable and lifesaving drugs are wasted.

Easy access to accurate consumable supply chain data has been a key benefit of the eLMIS. The USAID eSCMIS project, implemented by JSH in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency, John Snow Inc., and the Churches Association of Zambia, is tasked with eLMIS management, deployment, and sustainability. One of the project’s main objectives is to ensure the government can make data-driven supply chain decisions independently.