Kenya to utilize Mobile app in medicines distribution as the country works to stabilize ARV supply

KENYA – Kenya has inked a deal with the private sector to roll out the use of a mobile application that will monitor the distribution of health commodities such as medicines across the country, a government official has said.

Salim Ali Hussein, deputy director of medical services, Ministry of Health told journalists in Nairobi that the mobile application will be integrated into the Kenya health information system to ensure real-time monitoring of essential drugs across health facilities.

“The mobile application will play a role in reducing stock-out of life-saving commodities used in community-based health programs,” Hussein said.

According to the ministry of health, community health workers will be able to provide data to enable demand-based resupply of health commodities based on accurate forecasts.

Hussein said that the mobile application has been designed to interact with either feature phones or smartphones. He observed that the mobile application can also be used in remote areas because users with a feature phone or those with no internet access are able to submit logistics data at no cost.

This mobile application will enable the country better manage distribution of critical medicines such as HIV/AIDs to people who need them efficiently.

Recently, the Ministry of Health pledged a durable solution to HIV/AIDS drugs shortage that has been experienced this year amid global supply disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health acknowledged that stock-out of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) had placed temporary bottlenecks in the country’s war against AIDS.

“The country recently experienced a temporary disruption in the commodity supply chain that affected the hitherto seamless distribution of ARVs and early infant diagnosis reagents for people living with HIV,” Kagwe said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

As a result, eligible people living with HIV have been receiving less than the three-month supply of medication that they were initially receiving. Subsequently, Kenya has also experienced disruption in the supply of laboratory reagents that has slowed down testing of the HIV virus among high-risk groups.

The government and partners have since intensified monitoring of the global supply chain of all HIV commodities to ensure stock-outs are averted, while health facilities are encouraged to explore alternative platforms for testing the virus.

According to Kagwe, some of the urgent interventions in the works to ease the HIV/AIDS drugs supply crunch include fast-tracking the procurement process to ensure the commodities are available in the next month.

Kagwe reiterated that Kenya was on course to achieve zero AIDS infections and deaths by 2030, citing robust funding toward public awareness, testing and management of the disease.

Aside from ARVs, the app could also come in handy in helping the country to effectively distribute Covid-19 vaccines and immunize as many people as possible.

Kenya had administered 5.7 million vaccines as of yesterday, of which 3.8 million people were partially vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health. The east African nation’s total confirmed positive cases stood at 253,853 on Wednesday, according to data released by Ministry of Health.

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