A Web and Mobile Application for Reproductive Health Supplies

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By: Professor Kumar Devadutta, School of Computer Engineering, KIIT University

This post describes the process of implementing RHCLMIS, a web and mobile application for automating RH supplies for the Health Department in Odisha in India. Innovadors Lab, a tech start up based in Bhubaneswar in India designed and implemented the Reproductive Health Commodities Logistics MIS (RHCLMIS) for the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Odisha to modernize the supply chain management for RH commodities across the state. UNFPA Odisha provided technical and financial support in this process.

The National Health Mission, India’s public health program, delivers a range of family planning services through a Health Sub Centre at the village level (covering population size of 5000), Primary Health Centre at block level (covering 30,000 people) and Community Health Centre for cluster of 2-3 blocks (covering population size of 120,000). In the rural health program, community health workers and providers counsel for and provide a number of oral contraceptives and condoms. In addition, the National Health Mission performs IUCD implantation, sterilization, and other operations primarily in Primary Health Centres and higher-level facilities through trained providers.

Most state health departments are managing the supply chain management for family planning services manually. This practice provides little information to the suppliers and providers to manage their RH procurement, stocking, indenting, transporting, and monitoring for supplies.

RHCLMIS functions

  • We used ASP as the front end and MS SQL as the back end for development. For mobile data collection, all the CHWs were given access through SMS with keywords and data for indent and stock status reporting.
  • Users shall first define the master data (e.g. place names, facilities, user details, ware house, items, etc.).For each type of master data, users shall use respective forms. For example, users can enter name of the item, code, unit, required percentage, unit per head for creating list of supply items.
  • It allows user to create track centers at any level (e.g. state, district, block, etc.). Track centers are users who can log in the RHCLMIS application to monitor indent, stock and supply status at the units below its level.
  • Users can use ‘forecast function’, to project annual demand by population size for each type of item. The forecasting is available at CHC, PHC, block, district and state levels for a year by the RH product category.
  • For raising ‘indent’, users shall first select the item and select indent type (stock in hand, annual requirement, receive till date automatic fetch). The user shall enter quantity to send the indent.
  • Units can ‘receive’ the supplies from warehouse or supplier. First, select the warehouse or supplier from the list, then enter invoice number, date. Then, user shall select the item and enter quantity, and details of item (e.g. batch no, manufacturing date, expiry date, total quantity, damaged quantity, short supply). User can upload the image of the supplies as well.
  • User can choose to ‘direct issue’ in cases where it does not receive any indent from the concerned units.
  • It allows the user to transfer commodities from one facility to another, using ‘inter transfer’ method.
  • For ‘quality control’, users can enter the receipt of items meant for QC and QC results.
  • User can update the stock status using ‘current stock’.
  • Where units are raising ‘indent’, stores can issue commodities to them and units can issue receipts.
  • Units can enter the details of damage and shortage of stocks through ‘damage/ shortage’ function.
  • Application provides various reports of stock, indent, and supply over level and time period.

Project implementation

  • Lab developed the RHCLMIS web application and started its pilot implementation in January 2011, with four districts – Boudh (3 blocks), Ganjam (22 blocks), Keonjhar (13 blocks), and Nayagarh (8 blocks).In these blocks, we organized training for ANMs who are the in-charge of the HSCs.
  • Training included: Functioning & features of RHCLMIS, Indenting through RHCLMIS, Stock issue, Stock Receipt and updations, Short supply or Partial Receipt, Minimum Stock level, Inventory management, among other topics.
  • Training for ANMs were provided in every Block Headquarter for 40-50 number of ANMs in 314 blocks of 30 districts of Odisha. For training these ANMs, we trained a group of 20 master trainers. We use classroom lecture methods with hands on practice for training the ANMs. The complete training required total 3 number of training sessions, conducted over a period of 12 weeks. Through the training, we trained the ANMs in entering the keyword and sending SMS, the detail is provided in SMS user guide.
  • Subsequent to the training, Lab provided handholding support through phone calls and visits to project sites at state and districts. We received approximately 350 phone calls which were attended by our help desk to guide them in operation.
  • In a year’s time, in January 2012, RHCLMIS was implemented in another 14 districts.

Key project achievements

  • Project is implemented in 314 blocks in 30 districts of Odisha. It includes HSC, 314 blocks, 30.DH, 1 state HQ, stores as the Users.
  • During 2013-14, RHCLMIS processed 2329 indents by web and 2329 by SMS, and 3015 supplies. In 2015-15, total of 2564 indents by web and 2564 by SMS, while 2857 transactions for supplies were processed.

Further developments

During the implementation, we have observed need for a mobile application for the project managers at the state, district and block level for quickly accessing the data and recording the transactions. Lab is currently developing a mobile application which we expect to pilot in one block.