SMS-based drug supply management pilot nears completion

A pilot malaria drugs supply management project called “SMS for Life” has Tanzanian authorities excited over its potential. The project, which brings together IBM, Novartis, Vodafone and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, taps into a combination of smart technologies to track and manage the supply of anti-malarial drugs.

The initiative uses a combination of mobile phones, SMS technologies and intuitive websites to track and manage the supply of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy drugs and quinine injectables, both of which are key to reducing the number of deaths from malaria. Vodafone, together with its technology partner MatsSoft, developed a system in which healthcare staff at each facility receive automated SMS messages, that prompt them to check the remaining stock of anti-malarial drugs each week. Using toll-free numbers, staff reply with an SMS to a central database system hosted in the United Kingdom, providing details of stock levels, and deliveries can be made before supplies run out at local health centres.