Partnering to Strengthen Supply Chain Data-based Decision Making

Jun 20, 2022

Mr. Keegan Mwape, Chief Provincial Pharmacist for Zambia’s Northern Province

“We, the Ministry of Health, like the project, work with various partners to strengthen the health supply chain,” says Mr. Keegan Mwape, Chief Provincial Pharmacist for Zambia’s Northern Province. “It is important to always have supply chain information on hand. We use the data in the Electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS) to help us forecast and measure commodity consumption and logistics trends across any region in the country. This way, we can give accurate data to both the Zambia Medicines & Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA), which is the main supplier of health products, and to other health commodity supply partners, like faith-based organizations.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded Electronic Supply Chain Management Information Systems (eSCMIS), and the Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) projects partner to improve health facility reporting rates through eLMIS so that health commodities are always restocked on time and to improve commodity data quality in the system. They recently migrated GHSC-PSM’s supply chain analytics dashboards, which shows health facility reporting rates, commodity stock status, product changes, and consumption statistics, to the eSCMIS-supported eLMIS Central Edition (CE). The eLMIS CE is a centraliz ed web-based system that houses data on the supply chain movement of health commodities from ZAMMSA all the way up to when the products arrive at facilities and are dispensed to communities. This system is used by a large number of people, including Ministry of Health staff and various supply chain managers and partners.

“As a supervisor, I can’t emphasize enough how crucial eLMIS CE is,” Mr. Mwape explained. “It provides a comprehensive assessment of how the supply chain in my province is doing, enabling me to develop targeted actions to strengthen any areas that require it.” Mr. Mwape regularly checks the system for any stock issues, such as overstock of commodities in one district to plan for redistribution to districts that are low on stock. “Consumption trends help me ensure all facilities are adequately stocked,” he said. “Information is crucial to managing our supply chains. Occasionally, we observe, for example, that a small facility consumes more of a commodity than a high-volume facility, which begs the question, why? With this knowledge, we can look into the facility further to ensure that it has the infrastructure necessary to handle the increased number of clients, or, for example, if we discover that pharmaceuticals are being looted instead, we can stop such behavior.”
Before moving to the eLMIS CE, the GHSC-PSM dashboards were tested on the eLMIS user acceptability testing environment (UAT) to make sure that users could easily access and use the dashboards. These dashboards provide a platform for supply chain managers to use data in making informed decisions about the supply chain, ensuring that health products are available at facilities and improving patient outcomes.

The eSCMIS project is working to make the eLMIS into a next-generation system. This state-of-the-art, open-source digital platform gives end-to-end, real-time visibility into the country’s health supply chain. This helps improve decision making, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and local ownership, which leads to a more efficient, sustainable, and person-centered supply chain.

“Supply chain managers and partners throughout the country can monitor and track the movement of health products until it gets into the hands of the patient through data supplied by the eLMIS. This data ensures that facilities are well stocked based on consumption trends shown and patient needs ( how many patients are coming in each month and how much facilities are dispensing, if they are running low on stock, if they have expiries, and also, what is done with waste or expired commodities ),” Mr. Mwape adds, “Because of eLMIS, we have a holistic view of supply chain performance at all levels of the supply chain. We all need to be system regulars to stay on top of all we need to do to strengthen our supply chain.”