IBM is working with the Zambian government to set up a new medical supply chain pilot project to better manage inventory and delivery of medicines, reports Supply Management.

The collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health will make 200 life-saving drugs more widely available. According to IBM, the public health sector in Zambia registers 100 000 deaths annually due to preventable and treatable diseases.

“The solution will provide a real-time view of drug usage and stock while analysing data to identify trends and forecasts to prevent gaps in the medical supply chain,” said a statement from the technology firm.

The IBM SPSS medicine supply forecast model takes into account local conditions such as the rainy season, lead time and differences in each district’s demographics.

A mobile app by IBM will also help staff at health facilities in three Zambian districts to use mobile devices with barcode scanners to record and transmit stock and utilisation details to a central inventory control system. This will ensure continued access to vital medication and enhanced understanding of the usage patterns of vital medication.

Dr Bonface Fundafunda, CEO at Medical Stores, which is implementing the solution, said: “We’re working with IBM to replace our paper-based inventory system with cutting-edge technology that can pinpoint the exact locations where stocks of essential medicines are running dangerously low."