Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and with the safety of our patients in mind, GMAST has postponed our 2020 trip to Kenya to a later date. With an eye to future trips, Donny Bertucci, who served as technical support on our 2018 and 2019 trips to Cure, Kijabe, assumed the role as 2020 summer intern to spearhead the development of an inventory system.
A facet of our work that often proves challenging is the organization and tracking of medical supplies. Members of our team carry in suitcases containing hundreds of pounds of supplies every time we travel and, while most of it is used, we leave any remnants for our next trip or for the next cleft lip/palate team. In the past, we have kept large spreadsheets shared among the teams to track the locations and amounts of supplies, but Donny is working on a better solution.
Due to his experience with GMAST, Donny is uniquely qualified to address the specific issues that arise for international medical charities in the transportation and tracking of supplies. When describing his goals for the software, tentatively named MIS (Medical Inventory System), Donny stated:
“Usually when I am developing software I want to have a problem to solve in mind, and in this case the problems were: 1) It was hard to collaborate with other people in distant places to add to the inventory, 2) It becomes extremely time consuming and error prone to use spreadsheets to keep track of inventory, and 3) spreadsheets aren’t user friendly to many of our team members.
So with those problems in mind, It took around two months to create a mobile and shared medical inventory system (MIS) that is browser based and usable on their mobile phone, iPad, or laptop. MIS allows any number of team members to add or update our medical supplies inventory regardless of where they are (and we are spread out all over the world), documents what suitcase or box the supplies are going into, and allows for the team to see our entire inventory across all members. And when the team is in Uganda or Kenya, they can easily keep track of and change inventory on the fly. My hope is that MIS can save a lot of time, have complete accuracy, and be user friendly to everyone that goes on these trips.”
We look forward to utilizing MIS as soon as we are able to start work again. In the meantime wash your hands, wear a mask, and take care of eachother other.