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Mobile Phone-based Inventory Management

By Kileken ole-MoiYoi Moderator Emeritus | 17 Nov, 2010 Last edited by Robert Szypko on 27 Jul 2011

Access to effective antimalarials remains a significant barrier to improving health outcomes in many malaria endemic countries. The exponential growth of the mobile phone market worldwide has created several new opportunities to improve health outcomes. A recent study published in the Malaria Journal evaluated the use of mobile phone-based text messaging to improve antimalarial inventory management (http://www.malariajournal.com/content/9/1/298). The study called “SMS for Life,” was carried out by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Novartis Pharma AG, Vodafone and IBM. It was carried out in three rural districts in three different malaria-endemic zones of Tanzania. The objective was to record and communicate stock levels of artemisinin-based combination therapies and injectable quinine between remote health facilities and Zonal Medical Stores.

On average, stock reports were reported daily and the text-based inventory data was found to be 94% accurate. In one district, all antimalarial stockouts were eliminated within 8 weeks of the 21-week study and overall, ACT stock increased by 64% and quinine stocks increased by 36% in the three districts.

Have you heard of similar mobile phone-based strategies for improving inventory management? Would such a model work in regions where you are located or have worked?

Attached resource:
  • SMS for Life (download, 1.0 MB)

    Summary: Access to effective antimalarials remains a significant barrier to improving health outcomes in many malaria endemic countries. The exponential growth of the mobile phone market worldwide has created several new opportunities to improve health outcomes. A recent study published in the Malaria Journal evaluated the use of mobile phone-based text messaging to improve antimalarial inventory management (http://www.malariajournal.com/content/9/1/298). The study called “SMS for Life,” was carried out by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Novartis Pharma AG, Vodafone and IBM. It was carried out in three rural districts in three different malaria-endemic zones of Tanzania. The objective was to record and communicate stock levels of artemisinin-based combination therapies and injectable quinine between remote health facilities and Zonal Medical Stores.

    On average, stock reports were reported daily and the text-based inventory data was found to be 94% accurate. In one district, all antimalarial stockouts were eliminated within 8 weeks of the 21-week study and overall, ACT stock increased by 64% and quinine stocks increased by 36% in the three districts.

    Have you heard of similar mobile phone-based strategies for improving inventory management? Would such a model work in regions where you are located or have worked?

    Source: Malaria Journal

    Keywords: Diagnostics & Treatment, inventory management, malaria, mobile phones, Operations & Logistics, text messaging

Replies

 

Ida-Alexandra Humuza-de Cordier Replied at 8:48 AM, 6 Jan 2011

Hi
Indeed that kind of system work well. The lifesense group a south african company has develloped a similar system with mobile phone. But transmission of the data won t be via sms because it s too costly. We' ll be able to collect patient record, stock record, sales, and of course deseases. We attend to lauch the system inthe health posts in rwanda beginning this year. A pilot was ran in kenya last year and was very successful.
Ida

Anup Akkihal Replied at 3:15 AM, 7 Jan 2011

Dear Kileken,

You might find this mobile inventory management tool useful:
http://logistimo.com

It is being used in rural Indian clinics and urban hospitals to minimize stockouts.

Thanks,
Anup

Junior Bazile Replied at 8:44 AM, 9 Jan 2011

I have not heard of such use of mobile phone before but I agree that it's a tremendous useful way to give feedback and reports in real life. The pharmacist, CHW in very remote areas can stay in touch with other healthcare professional and even government officials easily.

Bazile

Kenneth Rudd Replied at 4:43 PM, 11 May 2012

FYI, there are now many initiatives to utilize mobile phones as a way to track and even provide sorts of “telemedicine” and we will likely see more as in more and more places the infrastructure for mobile phone technology is in places where there won’t be internet access for a long time to come if ever. I even saw a mounting device where smartphones can be mounted onto microscopes such that images can be sent via SMS.

-Kenny

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