Image of workers unloading boxes on a truck into a warehouse.

In TransIT: Enhancing Visibility Across In-Country Supply Chains .

Chemonics is helping to ensure that health commodities are delivered where they are needed most by using a low-cost, easy-to-use, cloud-based transport management system that increases visibility across the in-country supply chain.

A pregnant smallholder farmer in rural Mozambique has enough on her mind. Harvesting, getting wood, finding water, cooking, and feeding ― the list goes on. She also needs access to a clinic for an antenatal visit, where she should also receive long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to protect her and her young children during the upcoming rainy season. But she is far removed from the city, and she doesn’t live within easy walking distance of a health center. Instead, she walks several miles to the nearest rural clinic. When she arrives, she learns that they are out of LLINs, which means that her family will remain at risk of getting malaria. Shortages like this exacerbate public health challenges associated with prevention and treatment of diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Health commodity shortages are often caused by a lack of data visibility and reliable delivery options throughout in-country supply chains. To improve data visibility and increase the efficient and effective delivery of vital health commodities between warehouses and distribution points, such as rural clinics, Chemonics, with engineering support from Arizona State University (ASU), developed Transportation Information Tool (TransIT), a cloud-based transport management system that consists of a web-based and mobile application. The tool was developed for use by the USAID Global Health and Supply Chain Program – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project to meet countries’ last-mile delivery challenges. GHSC-PSM purchases and delivers health commodities, strengthens national supply chain systems, and provides global supply chain leadership to ensure lifesaving health supplies reach those in need, when they need them.

Increasing Efficiency and Effectiveness of Deliveries throughout Public Health Supply Chains

TransIT tracks location, metrics, performance, loss, and cost of commodities as they move through the in-country distribution networks. Users can see data trends over time through an “instant report card,” as well as delivery statuses, enhancing the ability to make data-driven decisions. The tool’s accompanying Android mobile application allows drivers to upload shipment information and a GPS stamp of their location. When off-grid, the TransIT mobile app stores the information on the phone and uploads it automatically when wireless and mobile networks are in range.

Live dashboard using GPS coordinates showing completed deliveries in Nampula province, Mozambique
Live dashboard using GPS coordinates showing completed deliveries in Nampula province, Mozambique.

So far, TransIT has been used for deliveries in Angola, Cameroon, and Mozambique. Using the tool, GHSC-PSM was able to track the geolocation of 64,500 LLIN deliveries in 202 sites by 30 trained drivers in Mozambique. In Angola, the GHSC-PSM team used the tool to reduce the cost and amplify the visibility of 235 deliveries over a three-month period, increasing the percentage of on-time deliveries to 85 percent. And in Cameroon, a 2019 mass distribution campaign used the tool to facilitate planning for deliveries and inform logistics such as route planning to distribute over 1.3 million LLINs to 153 health centers.

Roads in rural Mozambique are almost impassable throughout the rainy season, which is also when mosquitoes abound. With TransIT, we can track where deliveries are within the in-country distribution network, track trends, and develop alternate route plans as needed.
Roads in rural Mozambique are almost impassable throughout the rainy season, which is also when mosquitoes abound. With TransIT, we can track where deliveries are within the in-country distribution network, track trends, and could potentially develop alternate route plans as needed.

Supporting Country Resiliency Through Partnerships and Technology

When designing the tool, Chemonics and ASU recognized that sustainability was key. TransIT needed to be appropriate for low- and middle-income countries, many of which have limited resources. The tool was designed to be simple, easy-to-use, and low cost so that it could be transferred easily to local government and private sector stakeholders, such as third-party logistics companies. In Angola, the GHSC-PSM project coordinated with the Ministry of Health to train staff in the Central Procurement Agency for Medicines and Medical Supplies (CECOMA), and localized TransIT into Portuguese.

“Once populated with the correct information, TransIT has the ability to compile the required reports with just a click of a button, thus empowering CECOMA,” said Bawinile Moyo, GHSC-PSM’s distribution and tracking expert in Angola.

Aligning with USAID’s strategy to focus on private sector engagement in the journey to self-reliance, the GHSC-PSM team identified five Mozambican transportation companies to distribute LLINs using TransIT, anticipating economic growth in the areas of logistics management, warehousing, and transportation over the years that will support the tool’s expansion and increase the visibility of deliveries and the quality provided to the customer.

In Angola, Cameroon, and Mozambique, where TransIT is already in use, improvements in the supply chain are evident. In-country distribution network visibility has improved, costs have been reduced, inefficiencies in invoices have been eliminated, and logistics planning are better informed. The GHSC-PSM project will introduce TransIT in eSwatini and Zambia in the next year and plans to expand to other countries in the coming years.

TransIT is helping to address deficiencies in commodity traceability while facilitating the delivery of essential health commodities that are vital for millions of people at risk of preventable and treatable diseases like malaria. These improvements ensure the equitable distribution of existing resources, introducing cost efficiencies that make it possible to purchase additional health commodities that protect millions from deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria.

“The availability of LLINs helped to improve the percentage of coverage of antenatal care consultation, reducing malaria cases during pregnancy as well as the target indicators defined by the provincial health sector,” said the director of warehousing and transportation for the GHSC-PSM project in Mozambique.

TransIT helps bridge the urban-rural divide, increasing the probability that a pregnant Mozambican smallholder farmer ― faced with the prospect of a five-mile walk to a health clinic for antenatal care through rain, dust, and crocodile-invested rivers ― will make the walk back having received the supplies and care she needs to protect her family.


LLIN deliveries in Mozambique


on time deliveries in Angola

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LLIN deliveries in Cameroon