The Use of Social Media for Strengthening the Program Management and Service Delivery in ART Centers: Experience from India

Sudhir Chawla, Purohit Vimlesh, Rewari BB, Verma PB, Manish Bhura, Jitendra Joshi, Sandip Rathod and Ronak Dhamaliya

Published Date: 2016-06-26
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Issue: As supply chain of ARVs is decentralized, more focused monitoring and mentoring of the ART centers is needed to ensure regular availability of the ARV drugs, undertake timely relocations and to avoid any stock outs. Activities: A group was created in “WhatsApp” that had pharmacist from 27 ART centers providing ART to 44593 PLHA, in Gujarat, India. They were mentored and capacitated to address key issues and suggest solutions to complement and strengthen the existing National ARV recording and reporting system. Results: The group had high acceptability amongst users who utilized it for: 1. Mentoring on new reporting formats, and correct compilation of stock reports 2. Reminder for reports 3. Stock/consumption reporting channel, with internet failure 4. Confirmation of drug relocations Correctness of the reports improved immediately in 30% centers, and 25/27 centers reported immediately in new adopted format in 1 week and 100% centers in 3 weeks. Group reminders increased the timeliness of ARV stock reports, with >90% reports on time. In 8 instances of inability to send report by email, centers transmitted information using the group. On 20 occasions members used group to inform about impending shortage needing urgent relocation. Around 200 relocations acknowledged in group provided real time information. 46 communications demanded immediate attention- 40 regarding receipt/shortage, 6 about relocation to prevent possible expiry of any drug. Lessons learned: Decentralization of ART poses several challenges and use of social platforms like ‘WhatsApp” can be effective mentoring mechanism, in complementing the national reporting systems.

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