When a change agent advances positive health outcomes

When a change agent advances positive health outcomes

By Mary Mwadime

You probably celebrated World Health Day, which commemorates the April 7, 1948 founding of the World Health Organisation – the global organisation has played a vital role in advancing positive health outcomes not just in Kenya, but also in most African countries, and beyond.

I was particularly captivated by the adopted theme this year, which focused on our planet and health. It was also a reflection moment for me, as it almost coincides with my first anniversary as the chairperson of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

Those who know me – as a career supply chain specialist –, say that I am outrightly passionate about facilitating supply chain excellence, particularly in the health sector and gender empowerment fields.

Sitting at my office desk, I silently perused and skimmed through the World Health Day material. Some of the material posed profound questions that took me on a reflective journey.

Sample this: Are we able to reimagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all? Where economies are focused on health and well-being? Where cities are liveable, and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?

See, I couldn’t help but add the question: Are we able to guarantee timely delivery of medical supplies to the remotest parts of this country and the world?

It is elementary that the envisaged planet and cities where people have control over their health and that of the planet cannot be realised with dysfunctional access to health products and technologies. 

The streamlining of access to last-mile destinations; in the far-flung areas such as Rusinga Island in Homa Bay county, Kibich in Turkana county, or even the closest health centres such as Korogocho, in Nairobi is not rocket science. Neither can we afford to shun contemporary technologies or processes that guarantee efficiency in the public medical supply chain space.

Over the years, supply chain practitioners have pursued several models that guarantee efficient delivery of products. From complex parts used to manufacture aircraft in Everett, Washington in the United States or even the clockwork, mind-boggling movement of supplies, transmission technology, equipment, cars and fuel for Formula one racing teams. If it can be done for such complex assignments, we can undoubtedly get the supply chain solution right for life-saving health commodities.

Over the last few months, KEMSA, for example, has made significant progress to guarantee the success of the Universal Healthcare Coverage national scale up, including reducing the order turnaround time from 46 days in February 2021 to 16 days at the end of February 2022. 

To enhance integrity for deliveries to more than 11,000 health facilities countrywide, the organisation is also actively utilising the Electronic Proof of Deliveries or e-POD App in more than 45 Counties – the e-POD app keeps track of supplies to primary health facilities. 

It is important for organisations in the supply chain space to adopt information technology solutions while streamlining their procurement and inventory management. Executed well, automated procurement rollout, including issuing certified electronic local purchase orders (popular as LPOs), leads to efficiency.   

Mary Mwadime is a Supply Chain Specialist and KEMSA Chairperson. 

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