John Chilombo: Championing eLMIS in Lukulu District

Jun 26, 2024

John Chilombo, a Registered Nurse and In-Charge at Lukau Health Post in Lukulu District, Western Province, is championing the implementation of the Electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS) to streamline healthcare operations. His journey with eLMIS began during his voluntary work at Chipokota Mayamba Urban Health Centre in Ndola, where he learned firsthand about its efficiency and how to use it from lab supervisors and pharmacists.

John Chilombo, Registered Nurse and In-Charge at Lukau Health Post

“When I first encountered eLMIS, I realized its potential to revolutionize our work and how we manage medical supplies and data. I could already envision the bright future of healthcare logistics,” John reflects. For example, the eLMIS has reduced stockouts by providing real-time inventory data, enabling timely replenishment of essential medicines. It also minimizes wastage through accurate tracking of expiration dates, ensuring that medicines are used before they expire.

Equipped with this knowledge, John did not struggle to use the system when he was deployed to Dongwe Rural Health Centre in 2020. Already proficient in navigating the system, John immediately integrated eLMIS into his daily routine at the health centre. “I didn’t need orientation; I already knew how to use the system, but I continued to learn on the job as the system evolved” he says.

Recognizing the importance of knowledge transfer, he ensured that his colleagues were also trained in eLMIS upon his arrival and before his transfer to Lukau Health Post. “Before leaving Dongwe, I made sure to train the newly deployed health staff on eLMIS. I wanted more staff to have eLMIS capacity and to ensure a smooth transition as they were to take over from me.”

However, upon his arrival at Lukau Health Post in 2022, John encountered a setback: the facility had yet to be deployed with eLMIS. Unwilling to regress to the cumbersome paper-based system, John embarked on a relentless eLMIS advocacy. “I refused to go back to the paper-based system,” he emphasizes. “eLMIS wasn’t just a preference for me; I knew firsthand the efficiency and accuracy that eLMIS brings. It is the future of healthcare delivery and I had already embraced it. I couldn’t imagine going backwards.”

Undeterred by initial challenges that delayed the deployment of eLMIS, such as the lack of electricity, John persisted in his advocacy to bring eLMIS to Lukau Health Post. “I kept knocking on the district pharmacist’s door,” he recalls. “I knew we needed eLMIS to make our work faster and more accurate.”

In the interim, while waiting for Lukau Health Post to be deployed with eLMIS Facility Edition, John found a workaround. “I decided to talk to the district pharmacist to allow me to use their eLMIS Central Edition (CE) credentials to enter the facility’s reports directly on the CE,” he explains. “It was important to me to ensure the accuracy of our data and continue benefiting from the efficiencies of eLMIS.”

Lukau Health Post was finally connected to power, and eLMIS was deployed in early 2024. “We were overjoyed to finally have the system and the impact was immediate,” John says with pride. “Now, we are enjoying the benefits of eLMIS: accurate data, timely reporting, and efficient stock management.”

John orients his colleagues on how how to use eLMIS

John’s advocacy extends beyond his own facility. He also contributes to the broader healthcare community. Through the USAID Electronic Supply Chain Management Information System (eSCMIS) project’s initiatives like the provincial eLMIS Helpdesk WhatsApp groups, he provides support and guidance to fellow health workers. “I want everyone to realize the importance of eLMIS,” he says passionately. “It’s not just about making our jobs easier; it’s about improving patient care and outcomes.”

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. “To help decongest the eLMIS Helpdesk, I support fellow health workers in navigating the system. People in the WhatsApp group even think I’m also from the helpdesk,” he chuckles. “But I’m just a health worker who believes in the power of technology to transform healthcare. It’s not just about using the system; it’s about empowering others to leverage its benefits.”

As he continues to champion eLMIS adoption, John emphasizes its universal relevance across healthcare departments. “Every health worker should familiarize themselves with eLMIS,” John urges. “It’s not just a tool; it’s the foundation for efficient, data-driven healthcare delivery.”

John remains committed to ensuring that every health worker is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to leverage eLMIS effectively. For him, advocating for eLMIS isn’t just a job it’s a mission to empower and improve healthcare delivery for all.