The Government of India (GoI) is placing a strategic focus on improved family planning (FP) service provision, to which end it has introduced new contraceptives into the public health system and taken initiatives to secure better monitoring and, importantly, ensure commodity security at the facility level. The launch of a new software—the Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS)—is a major step in this direction. The GoI and its agencies have developed the software in-house within a remarkable seven months, including design, development, and testing. The software is aimed at addressing the issues that plagued the earlier top-down FP commodity supply system, where information on demand forecasting, inventory management, and distribution was poor and stock-outs and over-stocks frequent. As a web-, mobile-, and mobile SMS-based application, FP-LMIS will enable hassle-free and accurate collection, processing, indenting, and reporting of logistics to streamline the supply of contraceptives to health facilities and frontline health workers across the country.
Initiatives to strengthen the quality and delivery of public health services strongly resonate with the aim of the Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project, which has been working with the GoI, partner institutions, and state governments to strengthen priority health services in the country. HFG recently initiated support to the national Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for operationalization of FP-LMIS in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, and Chhattisgarh. Notably, these four states are among the seven high-focus states being targeted for substantial improvement in access to contraceptives and FP services under the GoI’s Mission Parivar Vikas program. HFG is supporting FP-LMIS rollout by equipping the MoHFW’s FP Division with 12 technical experts who will, as FP-LMIS project officers, support FP-LMIS implementation at district and sub-district levels and help set up a systematic data collection and reporting system in the four states.
On January 11–12, HFG and MoHFW conducted an orientation and training workshop in New Delhi to build the capacity of HFG’s FP-LMIS project officers and other project resources on the FP-LMIS software and their role in facilitating its implementation. The participants were provided detailed information on the software as well as hands-on experience on the FP-LMIS web, mobile, and mobile SMS applications.
Equipped with knowledge and hands-on experience, HFG’s FP-LMIS project officers are now traveling to the field, right to the block level, to build the capacity of health functionaries responsible for storekeeping and supply management of reproductive health commodities. They will also be training the sizeable cadre of frontline health workers (accredited social health activists [ASHAs]) who distribute FP commodities in the community. To ensure effective management of distribution channels and inventory management, the FP-LMIS project officers will, among other tasks, also develop the capacities of and support state and district store officers in effective procurement, distribution, and management of FP commodities to prevent commodity stock outs. Given the crucial responsibilities these FP-LMIS project officers are shouldering, Dr. Ameet Babre, Lead Consultant at FP Division – MoHFW and a facilitator at the workshop, called them the “foot soldiers of FP-LMIS in the four states” and expressed confidence that they will play a major role in the operationalization and success of the software that could well transform India’s FP landscape.