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KEMSA banking on Information Technology systems to guarantee effective national healthcare supply chain system

By: John Kabuchi

Information Technology solutions continue to provide limitless opportunities facilitating much-needed efficiency at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) as part of organisational reforms.

KEMSA is a strategic State Corporation mandated to undertake roles and responsibilities to ensure supply chain excellence for Health Products and Technologies (HPTs) to ensure positive health outcomes.

The Authority, like never before, is banking on technology and a fit for purpose human resource base to meet its mandate. IT investments at the Authority are also geared at plugging procurement loopholes, enhancing integrity, transparency and accountability at KEMSA.

As part of the KEMSA reform plan, we have ramped up strategies to offer automated web-based enterprise and customer-facing services. The strategies are designed to enhance the availability of business systems and ensure continuity of business operations while underscoring compliance with best practice frameworks, standards, procedures and governance policies.

Information Technology systems came in very handy in the last financial year when we celebrated several milestones. In the first instance, to support the national scale-up of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme, KEMSA procured Health Products and Technologies (HPTs) worth KShs. 35.84 billion, and distributed them to more than 11,500 health facilities in the last financial year.

To ensure accountability, in the last financial year, we scaled up the award-winning KEMSA Electronic Proof of Deliveries or e-POD App to more than 45 counties. The KEMSA e-POD app has GPS capabilities and keeps track of KEMSA supplies to primary health facilities through the simple touch of a button and was developed to improve essential HPT deliveries across Kenya.

The e-POD app is an in-house ICT solution developed through a public-private partnership between KEMSA and Coca-Cola Beverage Africa with the support of UNFPA. The e-POD app received the Best Innovative Health Supply Chain solution award at the 2021 Global Health Supply Chain Summit in December 2021.

The e-POD App is powered by KEMSA’s Logistic Management Information System (LMIS) and the Ministry of Health District Health Information System (DHIS), enabling data visibility across the supply chain system and contributing to data accuracy between the national and county operating levels.

The development of this web-based Warehouse Management system and linkage to LMIS and DHIS has improved efficiency through the touch of a button tool that provides stock visibility at KEMSA regional warehouses. The solution has also contributed to enhancing the acknowledgement of deliveries at the health facilities.

Increasingly, the solution contributes to the accuracy of deliveries in their proper quantities to the right facilities while reducing stock leakages/loss during deliveries, as an electronic Proof of Delivery is generated. The application also monitors order turnaround time to avert delays in delivery which can cause stock-out of essential health commodities at the facility level.

At the organisational level, the deployment of ICT solutions has also seen the redesign of crucial warehouse and logistics processes. This has reduced the order turnaround time from 46 days in February 2021 to 18 days at the end of January 2022.

To place KEMSA on top of its game, the intelligent deployment of technologies that will play an essential role in making the healthcare supply chain more effective and efficient will continue to be a priority focus area. There can be no denying that adopting innovative technological solutions will enable KEMSA to continuously improve how it does business and serves its customers better. 

Mr Kabuchi is the Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority. Email: CEO@kemsa.co.ke

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