VillageReach is a non-profit organisation that provides critical last-mile support for health intervention programs in developing countries. Predominantly working in Africa, their aim is to improve access to quality healthcare and improve the distribution of medical supplies for people in the most underserved communities.
Millions of people living in developing countries suffer from inadequate healthcare, often due to the lack of availability of medicines and vaccines. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for a disproportionate share of the worldwide deaths for vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases kill 2.4 million children annually and leave millions more permanently impaired.
In recent years, many developing countries have implemented commercial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage their procurement of medical supplies at a national level. However, commercially available software is rarely a viable option for managing the lower levels of a medical supply chain, from a central warehouse out to individual health centres. In such settings, commercial software is hampered by limited data communications bandwidth, prohibitive software licensing costs, and the general lack of functionality necessary to support global health supply chains.
In late 2011, VillageReach began the OpenLMIS project to foster the development of open source, enterprise-grade supply chain software. After researching the requirements of nearly a dozen countries in Africa and Asia, VillageReach engaged with ThoughtWorks to plan the system development.
Around the same time, the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and subsequently the Zambia Ministry of Health - with the support of John Snow, Inc. (JSI) through the USAID | DELIVER Project - developed their own requirements for new electronic LMISs for their respective countries.