SARPAM Using ODK in Eight Countries to Track Drug Availability

Adi Eyal and his colleagues are using ODK Collect and a custom backend
in eight African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe,
Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and DRC) to collect information
on the availability and quality of medications. They have around 180
field workers who are using cheap Vodafone 858 Android phones to
collect quantitative information, as well as photos and audio

The data is being used for the Tendai Project, which according to
Daniel Molokele
of SARPAM, is "a practical intervention designed to ease the burden of
the people by monitoring the situation at community level and
disseminating information. The project aims to raise awareness of the
challenges communities face in accessing essential medicines, provider
pharmaceutical marketplace information through a regional info hub and
contribute to improving access to medicines in the Southern African
Development Community."

Adi explains that, "the first step is to collect evidence of systemic
failings. It is easy to dismiss a stock-out, sub-standard medicine or
poor service delivery as an exceptional event which doesn’t deserve
further action. With a project such as Tendai, evidence of systemic
failings can be gathered nationally and regionally. Armed with data
civil society is able to engage with governments to identify the cause
of these failings and suggest solutions. Researchers too may use this
information to inform policy.

This isn’t the end of the road. Once policy change has occurred,
Tendai can be used to monitor the effectiveness of that intervention.
For instance, large scale stock-outs of ciprofloxacin may indicate a
problematic supply chain. Once a strategy is implemented to correct
the problem, civil society, through Tendai can evaluate whether this
solution has indeed resulted in a reduction in stock-outs.

This is of course a simplistic example but there is a lot of value in
understanding the nature of a problem before attempting to take action
to correct it. Specifically with Tendai, we are hoping to encourage
increased collaboration between governments and civil society to
improve public health systems."

Browse all the data the project has collected at