Transition for Sustainability: Deploying the eLMIS in Zambia

July 15th, 2021 | Viewpoint

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A challenge for all development projects is sustainability when they end. Zambia has over 2,600 health facilities, and the USAID Electronic Supply Chain Management Information System (eSCMIS) Project is responsible for supervising, deploying, and improving its electronic logistics management information system (eLMIS), the country’s preferred health logistic system. The project’s purpose is to see that the eLMIS is upgraded regularly, enhances supply chain visibility for better decision-making; increases accountability; and is locally owned and operated.

To this end, the USAID eSCMIS implemented a sustainability and transition plan (STP) to help the Zambian Ministry of Health (MOH) take over eLMIS deployment and operational support, including software development, governance, monitoring and evaluation, and financing. Of 209 new eLMIS facility deployments in 2021, MOH has led 164 (78%) with USAID eSCMIS support and 45 (22%) deployments without it.

In addition, through various trainings and skills transfer programs, the project has identified 54 provincial MOH staff members, known as eLMIS champions, who have advanced knowledge of the eLMIS to serve as the initial point of contact for facility workers in need of technical assistance and supervision. For the remainder of 2021, the project, with MOH personnel in leadership roles, plans to deploy eLMIS Facility Edition (FE) to 400 new locations.

Roy Simukonda, MOH lab coordinator for Chadiza District in the Eastern Province, said “The Chanida Rural Health Clinic in Katete was my first deployment without project supervision. I was joined by two colleagues from the district health office’s lab and pharmacy sections. I especially appreciated the warm welcome we received at the site, as well as the [staff’s] eagerness to learn and participate in the deployment. I have since led seven other deployments in Chipata District, working with different pharmacy and lab personnel who are all learning about the operation of our logistics software and how to best manage it.”

Over its course, USAID eSCMIS intends to rapidly implement eLMIS FE to 1,200 facilities. By its end, with the help of a small, highly skilled core team to coach and supervise district-level peer teams and eLMIS champions, MOH will have sole responsibility for the deployment.

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