In order to keep up with the times where technology is the order of the day, the Ministry of Health and Social Services yesterday launched a ‘dashboard’ worth N$7 million.
The launch was made possible with financial assistance from the United States of America through its embassy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The dashboard is a system that will help prevent stock-outs of lifesaving medicines and save lives in Namibia. Hospitals and clinics around the country are already plugging into the dashboard and providing the necessary data it needs to function.
Since last year, 15 district and referral hospitals across the country have started using the dashboard, which is called the Facility Electronic Stock Card (FESC). By September, an additional 20 hospitals will be able to access the dashboard.
The system simplifies pharmaceutical inventory control, provides real-time information about what is in stock and allows pharmacy staff to devote more time to patient care.
Since independence, the pharmaceutical inventory management at the health ministry has been manual, using paper-based stock cards. This posed a big challenge for pharmacy staff at all health facilities countrywide, observed Dr Bernard Haufiku, the Minister of Health and Social Services.
“The limited human resources for pharmaceutical services and the increasing patient case-load due to new emerging and re-emerging diseases have not made it easier for the staff to effectively operate without appropriate and modern technological tools such as dashboard,” said Haufiku.
“I am confident that the dashboard we are launching today will go a long way in immensely helping the few and often overstretched pharmacy staff to manage pharmaceutical supplies at their respective health facilities in a more efficient manner,” remarked Haufiku.
The dashboard system will recommend to pharmacy staff the quantities to order as per current pharmaceutical standard operating procedures of the health ministry, said the health minister.
This would depend on an item’s consumption pattern, thus allowing pharmacy staff to have more time for other patient-centered and management related activities.
In addition, it will provide an early warning signal of flagging about potential stock-outs and overstocking of essential health products to enable the timely dispatching and redistribution of such products.
This will result in the efficient management of essential pharmaceutical products thereby maximizing their availability to all dispensing health facilities.
“I am encouraged by the fact that the system can interlink with other systems,” said the health minister. Government through the health ministry spent over N$1 billion in the procurement of pharmaceutical products last year.
American Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton, said: “Today’s official launch of the dashboard marks another milestone in the longstanding and productive collaboration in health between the United States of America and the Republic of Namibia. Working together I am confident that our two countries can achieve an AIDS-free generation in Namibia.”