Community Health Workers sharing the importance of hospital deliveries with traditional birth attendants in Taita Taveta County
Automation of Records Improves Regulation of Pharmacy Practice in Kenya
Until 2012, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB), which regulates the practice of pharmacy, manufacturing and distribution of drugs and poisons in Kenya, operated a manual licensing system. This made it difficult to continuously update the records and monitor the licensing of pharmacists and sale of drugs. Consequently, some pharmacists would be licensed to supervise more than one premise without the knowledge of the board while some premises would sell drugs without authorization, contravening the law.
This situation changed in March 2012 when PPB senior management team members took steps to automate their records. While taking part in the Leading High Performing Health Organizations (LeHHO) program, the team decided to create an automated registry that would be used to license pharmacists, pharmaceutical technicians and institutions authorized to dispense and sell drugs. The LeHHO enables senior leaders to focus on overcoming specific organizational challenges within a six-month period to improve performance. The program is offered through a partnership between the Leadership, Management and Sustainability Project, implemented by Management Sciences for Health and Strathmore Business School, with funding from PEPFAR through USAID.
Using the skills they learned in LeHHO, the PPB team mobilized funds – totaling KShs. 4.8 million – to finance the automation process; they then set up a team, comprised of information technology experts and senior management, to spearhead the process and sought support from partners to acquire necessary equipment. Once they put the infrastructure in place, the team entered the data that was in manual files into the system and trained staff on how to use the new system.
In just six months, PPB fully automated their licensing system, enabling them to ensure that all licensed pharmacists were duly certified and were supervising operations at only one site; and that all premises selling drugs were licensed under the law. The automation also reduced cost, time and effort invested in managing and updating records.
PPB has also automated the systems that regulate clinical trials and launched an online portal to make it possible to issue licenses online and allow members of the public to register adverse reactions to drugs as well as report suspected counterfeit or low quality drugs.
The Head of Information Technology, PPB noted, “Before automating our records, we had a lot of data but not enough information to rely on in discharging our duties.”
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