Local Name of Software: eLMIS
Year Deployed: 2014 (Central and Facility Editions)
Implementing Partner: John Snow, Inc. under USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and SCMS, and other funders.
Deployment Coverage: Nationwide
Partners: PATH, VillageReach
Before eLMIS was installed, Medical Stores Limited (MSL) received hand filled a paper report and requisitions from all health facilities through the districts during the monthly reporting period. Data specialists would capture all the reports and requisitions using a limited capacity stand-alone information system (Supply Chain Manager), and assess and approve replenishment quantities based on the commodity stock status in the MSL warehouse. Since the logistics management unit (LMU) at MSL received reports from more than 2,000 health facilities each month, paper-based order processing was labor intensive and time consuming often causing delays in order fulfillment.
Between 2012 and 2013, the web-based OpenLMIS (eLMIS Central Edition) was developed through collaboration of donors and implementing partners. The major donors included USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Other key stakeholders in Zambia included The Zambian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health with support from the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and SCMS project implemented by JSI. External stakeholders were the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, PATH, and VillageReach. This collaboration led to the formation of the OpenLMIS community. The eLMIS Central Edition was deployed for processing reports and requisitions from all health facilities in the country. The Districts took over the data input role, drastically reducing the volume of data processing at MSL.
By March 2015, MSL had fully migrated to the eLMIS from the previous data management software, Supply Chain Manager; with data specialists affirming the added values of order visibility, speed, ease of use and improved processes. The eLMIS increases access to data on stock availability including commodity consumption at health facilities and MSL. Previously, the country used a paper-based system to manage healthcare commodities, but the eLMIS has completely changed the way data are processed.
The eLMIS in Zambia includes a facility edition, which automates daily logistics transactions at the service delivery points; generates reports and requisitions and transmits to the central edition for resupply. Strengthening the connection between these two levels has allowed for decentralized data management to the district level and service delivery points. To further improve visibility, daily stock status is now submitted to the central edition from all sites that use the facility edition. By increasing data visibility, users from the top to the bottom of the supply chain are empowered to make data-driven decisions and implement effective interventions.
More importantly, by replacing the paper-based system with the eLMIS, there are fewer errors, shorter lead times between when reports are delivered to and processed by MSL, and faster approvals on orders to ensure that health facilities get resupplied in good time. This more responsive data management system is increasing commodity availability at the facilities; it stands poised to have a major impact on health outcomes for Zambians.
Dates of deployment: 2014 pilot, 2015 national rollout
Health Centers: 2319 health centers
Program(s): Essential Medicines, Family planning, Malaria, General care and treatment, HIV Test Kits, ARVs and Laboratory products
Configuration: Pull (eLMIS), data entry at the district level and some connected health facilities
Products: All major health products provided by Medical Stores Ltd (MSL) and CHAZ (Christian Health Association of Zambia),
Some facilities occasionally procure some commodities from the private sector for the private wing or to address a stock-out of critical items
Although there are plans to migrate to Sage ERP, MSL currently uses MACS as their warehouse management system (WMS). Customer service officers at the Commodity Security Centre (formerly known as the Logistics Management Unit) review, approve or adjust, and convert the requisition into resupply orders that are transmitted through an interface to MACS for fulfillment. These orders contain data on all products to be supplied, quantities ordered/approved, and request date. The order fulfillment reports are then transmitted back to OpenLMIS via a symmetrical CSV transfer over secured FTP.
In addition to the web-based eLMIS deployed centrally in Zambia, an offline Facility Edition was deployed to 48 pilot sites and 210 high-volume service delivery points. All major hospitals and large health centers have been covered.
The Facility Edition automates stock control cards and daily activity registers in these facilities, and it automatically compiles and sends data via a web service to the central eLMIS. The result is a reduced data collection burden on health facility workers and simplified end-of-the-month reporting and requisition process. Daily stock status from facilities is also transmitted to the Central Edition for better visibility and supervisory oversight.
eLMIS, the local implementation name of OpenLMIS, is a revolutionary and cost-effective system of health data management pioneered by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health in Zambia, in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS), the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT. and the OpenLMIS Initiative.
eLMIS transitioned to the Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation (AIDSFree) Project in 2016.
“eLMIS is fast and it has reduced the workload. With the old system, we spent up to a week working on reports. With eLMIS, I have no problems. Data is entered quickly and accurately. To send a report, all I have to do is click.”