County governments can now order drugs through the Kenya Medical Supply Agency (Kemsa’s) online portal and have their supply within four working days, down from a month.
The portal, called Logistic Management Information System (LMIS), has been created by Kemsa’s in-house software developers to enable counties and health facilities to buy medical commodities online.
The portal is available free of charge to Kemsa’s clients. All that the customer needs to do is to create a password which he can use from a personal computer, laptop or tablet.
Besides placing requests, the portal enables county medical representatives to keep track of their orders in real-time.
The portal has a chat option through which clients can contact Kemsa staff for follow-ups on orders as well as to make enquiries.
Kemsa CEO John Munyu said the portal had eliminated the long manual ordering process which faced many challenges including taking weeks or months for Kemsa to receive order forms, under supply and over supply of commodities due to data inaccuracies in reporting and ordering and poor interpretation .
“We have significantly reduced our turnaround time from four weeks to approximately four days depending on orders, which has in turn seen an increase in demand from the counties by between 50 per cent and 60 per cent,” Dr Munyu told Business Daily in an interview.
The increase, Dr Munyu added, has also been aided by the fact that health services are now devolved which has given the county governments the leeway to prioritise their needs unlike before when the central government was the sole decision-maker on the kind of drugs and quantity it would send to respective health facilities across the country.
Other than reducing the time it takes to place an order and have the drugs dispatched, the portal has also reduced paperwork, error and costs. It has also improved national quantification and forecasting and lastly improved Kemsa’s data warehouse decision-making.
Kemsa has also been providing training to the county health officials for free.
Dr Munyu says on average counties with larger populations such as Kakamega and Nakuru ask for drugs costing between Sh200 million and Sh300 million per quota.
Kemsa is targeting all the 47 counties with the portal, but only Makueni which has 160 facilities, Kajiado County which has 101 facilities and the Nakuru County Referral Hospital have fully embraced the new system.
Other than the county governments, the portal is also used by other Kemsa partners who include the National Aids and STIs Control Programme( NASCOP) for its National Programme for Anti-Retroviral. Others are Usaid, Unicef, Danish International Development Agency(Danida) and DFID among others.
“Before LMIS, orders from the facilities would be captured using the standard order and reporting forms (SORF), which would be done manually and sent to Kemsa via courier services. Most of the time we encountered inaccuracies in the quantities requested on the form and prolonged turnaround time,” Dr Munyu added.
How it works: Once the user has obtained his or her password and logged in, the customer is able to view the template and key in the quantities needed or prepare the order on a Kemsa excel ordering template and then upload it in the system.
The uploading takes less than five seconds and the main order is in place. The user is able to view all the commodities and their value. A printout of the order can also be done (filing).
Once the user has checked the order, he can submit it to the medical superintendent or pharmacist in charge for approval. The order then moves to the county pharmacist for consolidation. (All pharmacists will forward their orders to the county pharmacist).
The county pharmacists consolidate the orders through a process that will also help them to know the value of each consolidated commodity and to print out the information.
The county pharmacist is able to ration the facility orders to fit the county budget for medicines. He or she will then create a pro-forma invoice that advises them on the commodities and value of what Kemsa can supply.
With the pro-forma invoice the county pharmacist can prepare the LPO which upon completion is forwarded to Kemsa by keying in the LPO number.
Once Kemsa processes the orders, the customer will receive an electronic delivery note and SMS indicating the status of their request.
The second key module of the Kemsa is Program Commodities reporting and ordering. This is a report on consumption, re-supplies and losses, in stock and out of stock medicine. The Program commodities include malaria, nutrition, Anti-retroviral (ART), and HIV test kits.
The reporting helps the national committee on these commodities to manage re-supplies to all the facilities in Kenya.
A period for reporting is normally created and the facilities place their consumption reports by keying in or uploading. The reports are received at Kemsa and re-supplies arranged.
There is a rationalised column on the programme template which records the quantities to be re-supplied. An electronic delivery note is subsequently sent to the customer indicating the commodities to be expected from Kemsa.
The customers will receive an SMS indicating that the commodities have been dispatched through Kemsa e-mobile.