April 26, 2010

Parsons Students Use SMS Technology To Get Medicines To African Villages

StopStockouts - Summer 2009 Documentary from StopStockouts on Vimeo.

Bloomberg/Business Week reports on Stop Stock-outs, an SMS program developed by Parson University students to track medicine inventories at the local level in many African villages.

According to Stop Stock-outs Campaign Statement:

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quotemarksright.jpgToday, at any given moment, public health facilities in Africa have in stock only about half of a core set of essential medicines. These are medicines used to treat common diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, HIV, TB, diabetes and hypertension – all of which are among the highest causes of death in Africa.

Stock-outs are worst in rural areas and poor people are the most affected. Stock-outs force people to buy medicines at much higher prices from the private sector. More often, though, patients simply go without the medicine they so badly need – often with life-and-death consequences.

The “Stop the Stock-outs” campaign is calling on governments and health departments to end stock-outs now by:

-- Giving financial and operational autonomy to the national medicines procurement and supply agency

-- Allowing representation of civil society on the board of the national medicines procurement and supply agency

-- Ending corruption in the medicine supply chain to stop theft and diversion of essential medicines

-- Providing a dedicated budget line for essential medicines

-- Living up to commitments to spend 15% of national budgets on health care

-- Providing free essential medicines at all public health institutions

Related projects:

-- Saving Lives with "SMS for Life" - Is an initiative that uses a combination of mobile phones, SMS technologies and intuitive web sites to track and manage the supply of (ACT) drugs and Quinine injectables, both of which are key to reducing the number of deaths from malaria in Tanzania.

-- "Pill-Check "Clinics - Members of the public in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi run a "pill check", visiting public hospitals to check the availability of drugs at their local clinic or hospital pharmacy.

-- Mobile Phones to serve as doctors in developing countries - In South Africa, the SIMpill is a sensor-equipped pill bottle with a SIM card that informs doctors whether patients are taking their tuberculosis medicine.

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