If supplies run out, a “stock-out” may mean having to turn caregivers away, who may then be discouraged and not return, even when supplies are available again.
To lessen the chance of stock-outs of Chispitas, the name of the multiple micronutrient powder (MMNP) used in Bolivia, and other health products, MI undertook a cell phone pilot project in Santa Cruz to track stock on a daily basis.
Designated health centre staff send a text message from a cell phone associated with the centre to a number that receives the message and puts the information in a database.
The message indicates both the quantity of product dispensed and the number of beneficiaries. For example, a message of O C 120 N 2 indicates that 120 sachets of Chispitas were given to two children.
The daily communication of data on stock levels allows for close monitoring of needs in real time, easier adjustment of stock levels, and the correction of any distribution errors.