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Medicines Through Phones: Novartis Launches SMS For Life 2.0


Medicines Through Phones: Novartis Launches SMS For Life 2.0

The Nigerian health care system is in dire need of an overhaul and the benefits of tech in the system would be almost immeasurable. Novartis seems to come up with a solution to the problem of easy access to various drugs.

Novartis, on 12th December launched SMS for Life 2.0 in Nigeria. The initiative builds on the SMS for Life program launched by Novartis in 2009, which used cell phones to manage stock-outs of malaria medicines in more than 10,000 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan countries.

The new and enhanced SMS for Life 2.0 program will now use smartphones and tablet computers to address key operational challenges at peripheral healthcare facilities in Kaduna State (takeoff state). Local healthcare workers will be able to track stock levels of essential antimalarials, vaccines, and HIV, TB and leprosy treatments, and send notifications to district medical officers when stock levels are low. The program will also monitor surveillance parameters of malaria, maternal and infant deaths and seven other diseases, including measles, yellow fever and cholera. In addition, SMS for Life 2.0 will enable training of healthcare workers in local facilities using on-demand eLearning modules.

SMS for Life is a Roll Back Malaria Partnership initiative, with the purpose of developing and helping countries implement new innovative solutions to the long-standing problem of medicine stock-outs at the remote health facility level in order to significantly improve patient access to healthcare commodities in developing countries.

Medicines do not always reach the patients who need them, particularly those living in remote areas. Running out of stock is a major hurdle in ensuring access to essential treatments. By increasing stock visibility, health authorities will be able to monitor stock levels of these medicines in real time. Furthermore, disease surveillance data combined with the stock reporting function can improve supply chain management, by allowing authorities to better forecast demand for the treatments. This will help to ensure people get the medicines they need in a timely fashion.


The program which aims to increase the availability of essential medicines and improve care for patients across the region by using simple, available, and affordable technology, is a joint public-private partnership led by Novartis and supported by its partners, the Kaduna State Ministry of Health and Vodacom.

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