In June 2016, inSupply convened 30 county-level public health leaders from 10 counties and their national partners in Machakos, Kenya to launch the IMPACT Team Network approach for collaboratively solving supply chain problems through teamwork, data analysis, and continuous improvement.
People and data are at the center of the IMPACT Team approach. Specifically, county teams meet once a month, review their own data to assess performance and prioritize the most important problem to focus on, conduct root cause analysis, and then come up with local, practical solutions and actions to take ahead of the next meeting. Team members hold each other accountable and check in on targets for improvement meeting to meeting. Working with a data dashboard called the Indicator Tracking Tool (ITT), IMPACT teams track 5-7 vaccine and family planning supply chain performance indicators.
inSupply’s strategy for sustainability was to train county leaders to eventually lead, own and sustain IMPACT team meetings, even though initial meetings were led by project advisors. Thus, after 4-6 months of IMPACT Team meeting rounds, during which time inSupply modeled to county leaders how to plan and conduct meetings, the project began the process of systematically transitioning IMPACT Team operational processes to leaders in the 10 focus counties. In February 2017, inSupply held Leadership Cluster meetings that reunited the 30+ county IMPACT Team leaders to improve their ability to plan for and facilitate monthly IMPACT team meetings. The training focused on the eight key tasks required to successfully execute the IMPACT Team approach and development of a transition plan per county. The meetings also provided a forum for peer-to-peer learning, by purposefully including a mix of counties to allow for greater collaboration and shared learning.
The meetings encouraged participants to explore opportunities for engaging other partners and projects to adopt and support the IMPACT Team approaches moving forward to sustain gains. IMPACT Team leaders were also able to celebrate notable achievements within each county and across counties. Leaders congratulated each other – all counties were able to sustain above 90% reporting rates for the whole period, and noticeably narrowed the gap between general reporting and on time reporting from 12% to 7%, meaning that data was available for decision making on a much more timely basis.
These Leadership meetings were clustered in three groups: the ‘Nairobi’ cluster brought together 11 participants from Nairobi, Isiolo, and Kirinyaga counties; the ‘Kisumu’ cluster had 16 participants from Nandi, Kakamega, Migori, and Nyamira counties; and the ‘Coast’ cluster had 12 participants from Kajiado, Mombasa, and Kwale counties. Three external supply chain partners from the USAID-supported Afya Jijini and Pwani projects also participated in the meetings. Their engagement and involvement gave additional support to the transition and they agreed to take up the IMPACT Team approach and support the monthly meetings.
Evaluations from the meetings revealed that participants mostly enjoyed sharing their county achievements, learning from each other and the data challenge exercise (interpreting the visuals from the ITT). The inSupply team will continue to support the county teams towards realizing the timelines identified in the transition plans.