Africa’s healthcare system faces big challenges, many of which are compounded by the nature of communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and their impact on under-developed supply chains and medical networks.
While the first world has seamlessly adopted technology as the solution for most of these challenges, the terms ‘electronic data’ and ‘information technology’ are not generally associated with Africa’s struggling and under-resourced public healthcare systems, where challenges are exacerbated by paper records, manual processes, labour intensive administration and poor quality data.
The demand channel in Africa for drugs that combat deadly diseases such as HIV, malaria and TB is through national governments and their Ministries of Health. They devote funds from their national healthcare budgets to purchasing drugs, and budget deficits are mainly met by international funding agencies.
Since up to 40% of the total delivered cost of medicines in Africa is made up of supply chain, distribution and other non-core costs, transformation in this area is essential.
The key challenge is visibility across the value chain, from planning to execution. Access to electronic data to make effective, timely, informed decisions is one of the critical hurdles for many African Ministries of Health to overcome. The environment is often one in which infrastructure is inadequate, computer literacy skills are very limited and there are no standard processes. If an efficient public health supply chain is to be achieved, an innovative and comprehensive approach is required.
The application of technology is slowly starting to transform how healthcare is delivered in Africa, giving more people in remote areas access to treatment, and Resolve Solution Partners, through its hosting and support of US-based technology solutions providers ONE Network Enterprises, is helping African Ministries of Health deploy solutions that make a real difference.
Visibility in Rwanda
ONE Network and Resolve successfully designed, built and implemented a computerised logistics management information system that provides health commodity logistics data and order processing functionality for the Rwandan Ministry of Health. It encompasses demand planning, supply planning, inventory management, transport management and reporting.
Rwanda was the first country to implement a nationwide chain-of-custody pharmaceutical supply service for HIV/AIDS medications and other healthcare products, as well as supported its programmes at hospitals, distribution centres, district pharmacies and healthcare facilities.
The Rwandan Ministry of Health is now able to manage and track in real-time the custody and distribution of medical supplies as they flow from distribution centres, hospitals and clinics all the way to the community health workers.
The Mobile Extension
Resolve continues to break barriers in the quest for better healthcare service delivery in Africa, and its mobile healthcare solution is the latest in its technology offering in this arena.
Using a mobile app that enables technology use in the field, clinics and remote healthcare facilities can manage patient records, dispense medicine, manage laboratory reports, manage stock, access remote medical resources and conduct field surveys. All this is accessible from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, meaning improved visibility at the point of healthcare assistance, and not just across the preceding supply chain.
The new mobile application truly is “last-meter” technology that will transform healthcare delivery in remote areas in Africa. It will help providers understand their end-to-end supply chain, allowing them to make informed decisions that will take their healthcare systems forward.
At Resolve together with One Network Enterprises we enable our clients to buy, manage, store, deliver and report more efficiently, thus putting medication in the hands of sick people, on time, even when they live in the remotest of place. For more information, contact Resolve today.