Use of text messages to improve availability of supplies at health facilities

Gladys Tugume
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Context: What was the issue or process affected? What was the root cause of the challenge?: 

In December 2010; Facility ordering rates were low (35.1%) despite presence of order schedules. Different departments made and submitted orders independently.

What Happened: How was the challenge or gap addressed or improved?: 
  • Introduced use of order focal persons (preferably pharmacists) to collect all orders
  • Introduced SMS strategy to act as a reminder a week before the due date
Nugget: What is the lesson for others?: 

Text messages are an effective reminder to focal persons to submit orders before deadline


Impact: What are the results of applying the nugget?: 

  • In March 2012; Ordering rate had improved to 84.7 %

By June 2013; Ordering rate had improved to 91% with 6 facilities achieving 100%

Implementation: What steps are needed to apply the lesson?: 

  • Select with help from hospital management the order focal persons
  • Make a database of phone contacts for persons to send reminder messages
  • Draft the message and contract a company to disseminate it one week before the deadline
Action: Who is this for? Where does this nugget to go next?: 

  • National Medical Store
  • Ministry of Health
  • Public Healthcare facilities