News @ JSI

Tracking Imported Medicines from the Border to the Patient in Ethiopia

July 19, 2017

This month, JSI is expanding technological support for the pharmaceutical sector, adding management information systems for regulatory authorities to our expertise in supply chain data systems. In collaboration with the Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) in Ethiopia and under the AIDSFree project, we are launching i-Import, an online system where importers can apply for and receive permits to import medicines. FMHACA staff can work on the applications online, and management can track how long the process takes and assign staff according to their workloads, while importers can check on the status of their permits.

Our system is also the first module to be released as part of Ethiopia’s planned open-source electronic regulatory information system, which adapts best practices from the private sector to solve key challenges in the public sector. i-Import will integrate with GS-1 global standards for barcode tracking to enable regulators to eventually trace products all the way from the moment of import to their delivery to the patient. Our information systems for FMHACA—all open source and developed locally in Ethiopia—will link with our existing supply chain information systems in Ethiopia, enhancing end-to-end data visibility and data quality. For example, in the past, import approvals for PFSA (the public sector supply chain agency) purchase orders required that hard-copy forms be sent between the agencies, often resulting in lost paperwork and delays in the approval process. With the launch of i-Import, however, as soon as PFSA places a purchase order, the data syncs to i-Import and FMHACA can begin its approval process. And the new i-Import feature draws from PFSA’s Master Data application.

In addition to our technology innovations, we are working with Addis Ababa University's new master of science in regulatory affairs, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa to support visiting faculty from various institutions to teach specialized courses and mentor local academic staff.