Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 27, 2014

IBM to Help Zambian Government Access 200 Lifesaving Drugs

What is readily available in developed countries often times comes with great effort in third world countries, causing easily preventable medical conditions to wreak havoc on the population. A great example is soap, and how the lack of this most basic of products causes serious illness in these countries, but technology is educating these communities and providing access to resources. The Zambian Ministry of Health and IBM are coming together to provide citizens access to 200 lifesaving drugs with support from the World Bank, the Department for International Development, UNICEF and The London Business School.

A medical supply chain pilot project will be deployed by Zambia's Medical Stores Limited (MSL) using mobile technology and state of the art analytics solution to manage the delivery and inventory of medication in the country.

The Ministry of Health is trying to avoid the 100,000 register deaths due to preventable and treatable diseases by making medicines widely available to the people that need it.

The organizations involved in this effort will be using the IBM SPSS medicine supply forecast model. This technology takes into consideration many of the conditions that affect how medication is delivered throughout the country. By taking into account weather conditions such as the rainy season as well as differences in demographics in each district in the country, MSL will be able to optimize the distribution of medication in 2,190 health centers.

"With help from our partners, we have already introduced simple improvements in the medical supply chain that will save the lives of thousands of children across our country by 2015," said Dr. Bonface Fundafunda, CEO at MSL.

Additionally, IBM is going to provide its analytics capabilities by integrating the IBM MobileFirst application so healthcare staff at facilities in Zambia can use mobile technology barcode scanners to keep track of how these medications are being used for a centralized inventory control system. This will give the Ministry of Health valuable data as to how medications are being used in the country and determine usage patterns of vital medications so they will be available all the time.

"Our unique analytics technology can help save lives by ensuring access to safe and effective medicines where they are needed most. IBM's work to create smarter healthcare systems around the world is optimized around the patient, helping countries develop new patient-centric care models, and connecting health information through analytics," said Peter Ward, solution manager, IBM.

The solution IBM is providing to the people of Zambia is invaluable, and by introducing awareness of the resources they already have, they will be able to use this technology in other areas where data analytics can help the government see waste and inefficiency. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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