Family planning

Game-changing app tracks essential family planning supplies in Kenya

As a frontline health worker at Isiolo County Referral Hospital, Denis Mutirithia has a vital role to play in saving lives – and a new digital tool to help him do it. The Pharmaceutical Technologist is responsible for predicting and preventing shortages and stock-outs of essential medical supplies, including contraceptives.

If he receives stocks from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) on time, patients at the hospital will have access to the medicines they need, when they need them. But delayed supplies can trigger a litany of crises, ranging from illness to unwanted pregnancies and increased risk of maternal and newborn deaths.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged health systems and shut down health facilities, family planning and contraceptives have been among the most disrupted services. The costs are borne by the most vulnerable women and girlswith spikes in unintended teenage pregnancies reported in parts of Kenya.

“When a woman’s reproductive health is blocked, her life is also blocked,” said Editar Ochieng, founder of a women’s shelter and legal aid organization in Kibera, a sprawling slum in Nairobi. “Access to contraceptives is one of the most crucial empowerment tools that women in Kibera need to improve their lives, but often it is not available.”

Innovations at the service of women

Now, a new mobile phone app is set to be a game-changer for healthcare workers like Mr. Mutirithia. The Electronic Proof of Delivery, or e-POD application, allows supplies to be tracked to primary health care facilities at the touch of a button and has been developed to improve essential deliveries across Kenya.

“By checking the app on my phone, I am able to know when a particular delivery of family planning products is due. This helps us advise customers accordingly, so they get their method of choice when shopping. their next date,” he says.

The e-POD application was awarded the Best Innovative Healthcare Supply Chain Solution award at the Global Healthcare Supply Chain Summit 2021 in December 2021. So far, it has been deployed in ten counties nationwide and should be available in all 47 countries. counties by mid-2022.

The mobile application was developed as part of the Kenya Last Mile Program, implemented through a partnership between KEMSA and Coca-Cola Beverage Africa, with support from UNFPA. It uses GPS to ensure deliveries arrive where and when they’re supposed to, and healthcare facilities can easily tell if they’ve received the correct specs. The app also monitors order fulfillment times to avoid delays that could lead to the depletion of vital supplies.

KEMSA Acting Managing Director Edward Njoroge said, “With this new system, we will be able to ensure deliveries to the right health facilities, in the right quantities and at the right time.

e-POD is one of two recent family planning tracking apps developed with support from UNFPA. The second is Qualipharm, created with local public health organization HealthStrat, to track consumption of family planning commodities at the county, sub-county, and facility level. According to UNFPA’s Charity Koronya, “this is a game-changer, not only for health workers but also for citizens who depend on public health facilities to access life-saving commodities.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected women’s access to family planning information and services around the world, with some 12 million women have experienced disruptions in family planning services since their inception, especially in low-income countries and marginalized communities.

UNFPA is working with local and international partner organizations across Kenya to strengthen efforts to ensure universal access and rights to sexual and reproductive health care, reaching more than 900,000 people with family planning services in 2020.

Distributed by APO Group for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).