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Table 1 Critical success factors for SMS for Life project implementation

From: SMS for Life: a pilot project to improve anti-malarial drug supply management in rural Tanzania using standard technology

Factor Comments
Inclusion in government mainstream programmes Ensures that the system becomes mandatory and included in job descriptions/accountability of district personnel
  Project tasks are not dependent on external resources
Fixed timescale A specific time period for implementation is advisable
  A period of 12-18 months is recommended
  Strict timelines and strong project management are essential
Mobile telephone coverage Mobile telephone coverage within at least 2-3 hours of the health facility is mandatory for project participation
  Future implementation should be focused on areas with adequate coverage
Free mobile telephone response number Personal telephones frequently have no credit Free number ensures that cost is not a deterrent to sending stock count replies
Use of personal mobile telephones Avoids problems of maintenance, familiarity and issue of ownership associated with project-owned telephones
  Registration/deregistration permits changes to health facility staff and personal mobile telephone numbers
Airtime credit incentive for punctual stock count responses Transmit a small amount of airtime credit to personal mobile telephones for each timely response (recommended for at least a one-year period)
Mobile telephone access to the system Provide a mobile telephone version of the system, and Blackberry or similar devices if necessary, to permit management staff to connect to the system if computer-based access is problematic
Effective training session for health facility workers Invitations to stress the importance of bringing a personal mobile telephone with known network coverage in the health facility area
  Include session on 'how to text'
  Expand practical component to run 5 live scenarios twice
Improved health facility store rooms Pharmacy best practice would be assisted by standardized provision of store room equipment/shelving
Include stock counts at Zonal Stores Weekly stock counts from Zonal Stores would provide comprehensive visibility of stock levels and stock coverage for the entire country