Business News of Thursday, 13 February 2020
The Ministry of Health has introduced an electronic supply chain management system as the master plan to improve healthcare delivery.
The five-year strategic plan (known as the Ghana Integrated Logistics Management Information System (GhILMIS) is aimed at coordinating demand and supply chain processes effectively.
The challenges to be addressed by the electronic platform include shortage of medical supply due to delayed approval and procurement processes and the lack of adequate data on medical supplies stock.
At the launch of the system in Koforidua last week, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said it was characterised by improved ability to forecast operational demand, time acquisition, reduce administrative processing time and increase management efficiency, among other benefits.
He said the system would help the country to better address prevailing implementation challenges and form the bedrock for the structural transformation of the public health supply chain.
“Today, I am delighted to state that the GhiLMIS is live and operational in all our supply chain entities at the central level, all regional medical stores, our four teaching hospitals and 200 plus regional and district hospitals,” he said
He added that the system had started yielding results even in the early stages of implementation and cited the results to include facilitating the availability of real time data and accountability mechanisms; harnessing data revolution that supported informed decision making and reduction of logistics transaction cycle time from one week to one hour.
Other results, he said, included the reduction of level of effort (LOE) from people to a person, optimisation of both capacity management and transportation projected to significantly reduce overall supply chain costs resulting in effective resource utilisation.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said it was expected that by November 2020, all health centres and “functional” CHPS would have been successfully signed onto the system fully.
He said the introduction of the system formed part of overall reforms within the health sector to improve healthcare delivery and accelerate the delivery of Universal Health Coverage.
He said the government, through the MoH and its agencies, primarily the Ghana Health Service (GHS), had over the past decade undertaken a comprehensive and coordinated strategic reform, critical to strengthening the public health sector supply chain to fully support the delivery of a stronger and robust all-responsive national health system.
“One of the principles of this transformation agenda is leveraging the availability of modern innovative technology and information management systems to provide end-to-end visibility and facilitate the accessibility to quality supply chain data aimed at driving strategic decision-making across the value chain,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the development started in 2012 and was revised in 2015 while in 2017, the MoH, with support from development partners, initiated the process to procure and implement an LMIS that supported the availability of the right health commodities when and where beneficiaries needed them.
He said the piloting of the system in 2017 included starting the process to automate all business processes used in the management of a full logistics and supply chain management life cycle of healthcare commodities and creating a single LMIS that supported all logistics functionalities adaptable to the needs of individual MoH entities.
Shift from Paper base-system
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said moving away from paper-based systems and accepting the e-LMIS system was quite challenging initially but with effective collaboration and involvement of all key stakeholders it had become a success.
He underscored the importance of the system in an era where technology kept evolving in public health systems to boost healthcare delivery.
“We must have systems that ensure essential health commodities are available to the right clients when they need them. Supply chain managers need to have visibility into all functions of the supply chain such as procurement, warehousing, inventory, distribution, funding, and policy,” he said.
Mr Kuma-Aboagye said the GhiLMIS had provided near-real time accessibility to quality supply chain data.