MMV and partners handover SMS for Life in Tanzania to Government

The programme uses mobile phone technology to help reduce stock-outs of life-saving medicines

07 Jan 2013

MMV is pleased to announce that complete ownership of the SMS for Life programme in Tanzania was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) on 1 January 2013.

SMS for Life, now fully implemented across the country, uses widely available mobile phone technology to monitor antimalarial stock levels at healthcare facilities and pharmacies to prevent stock-outs. Healthcare workers send weekly SMS messages to a central database, where the information is used to facilitate rapid replenishment of stocks where required.

The implementation of the SMS for Life programme has been an international collaborative effort comprising the Tanzanian Government, Novartis, MMV, SDC, Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM-P), Vodacom Tanzania and service providers including PSI and Vodafone Global Enterprises.

The programme was initiated by Novartis in 2009 in collaboration with the above partners across 131 healthcare facilities. From February 2011, MMV and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) worked in close collaboration with the MoHSW and Population Services International (PSI) to scale-up the programme nationwide – covering all 5,099 healthcare facilities in the country. The system can now also be used to report on other essential medicines and key health indicators, thereby helping to improve overall pharmaceutical supply chain management.

MMV is currently spearheading a follow-up evaluation of the scale-up of SMS for Life in Tanzania, to assist and inform the MoHSW and governments of other countries wishing to undertake similar programmes.

“MMV is pleased to have been involved in making this ground-breaking initiative a reality over the past 2 years,” said David Reddy, MMV’s CEO. “From the outset, MMV’s role was intended to be catalytic. Now, with SMS for Life in full swing, the Tanzanian Government has taken full ownership and we wish them every success as they take the programme to the next stage.”