Research Article: Piloting a smartphone-based application for tracking and supply chain management of medicines in Africa

Date Published: July 17, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Henry Omoregie Egharevba, Omolola Fatokun, Mercy Aboh, Olobayo Olufunso Kunle, Solomon Nwaka, Karniyus Shingu Gamaniel, Iratxe Puebla.


A confounding factor for healthcare programmes in African countries is the inability of essential health tools to reach targeted locations and populations, due to poor Logistics Management Information System (LMIS). In a bid to contribute towards addressing these challenges, a pilot study was undertaken to evaluate the tracking ability, reliability and applicability of EASE App, a novel Smart Phone based Application. The App is designed to provide real-time tracking and tracing of commodities as well as curation of data in a cloud based database with restricted access which can be linked with other databases. In this study, NIPRIMAL was labelled with QR codes, and tracked within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria, using the smartphone based EASE App. Data collected showed that the “EASE App” tracking had accuracy of 100% for date and time of scan, operators’ codes and product identity; and 92.83±1.69% and 99.83±0.27% accuracy for GPS mapping label for the city and country, respectively. The GPS mapping label for specific streets, roads or districts, gave an accuracy of about 64.28±3.14%. The technology was able to provide real-time data on user unique identity, user location as well as date/time of use, and the feedback report indicated that it was readily deployable and easy to use. The results demonstrate that the “EASE App” is a promising technology that can support supply chain and related data management challenges in resource poor settings. The potential benefit of the EASE App in strengthening LMIS and distribution chain system in Africa as well as future optimization of the App are discussed.

Partial Text

A viable distribution system relies on adequate and timely information on inventory, demography of targeted population, as well as availability of good storage and handling facilities at all strategic points of the supply chain. The system should be supported by a robust inventory monitoring and replenishment scheme to ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution. Hence, a comprehensive and effective Logistics Management Information System (LMIS), which ensures timely collection and reporting of information to various levels in the system to allow for effective decision making, is required [1–5].

The statistical analyses of the tracking study in percentages are depicted in Table 1. The table shows mean (average) scan per QR code, the App’s tracking and tracing response for dates and time of scan, and location label for Country, State and districts/area/streets or road at the time of scan.




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