The AMPATH Nutritional Information System: Designing a Food Distribution Electronic Record System in Rural Kenya Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The AMPATH program is a leading initiative in rural Kenya providing healthcare services to combat HIV. Malnutrition and food insecurity are common among AMPATH patients and the Nutritional Information System (NIS) was designed, with cross-functional collaboration between engineering and medical communities, as a comprehensive electronic system to record and assist in effective food distribution in a region with poor infrastructure. DESIGN: The NIS was designed modularly to support the urgent need of a system for the growing food distribution program. The system manages the ordering, storage, packing, shipping, and distribution of fresh produce from AMPATH farms and dry food supplements from the World Food Programme (WFP) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) based on nutritionists' prescriptions for food supplements. Additionally, the system also records details of food distributed to support future studies. MEASUREMENTS: Patients fed weekly, patient visits per month. RESULTS: With inception of the NIS, the AMPATH food distribution program was able to support 30,000 persons fed weekly, up from 2,000 persons. Patient visits per month also saw a marked increase. CONCLUSION: The NIS' modular design and frequent, effective interactions between developers and users has positively affected the design, implementation, support, and modifications of the NIS. It demonstrates the success of collaboration between engineering and medical communities, and more importantly the feasibility for technology readily available in a modern country to contribute to healthcare delivery in developing countries like Kenya and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lim, J. L., Yih, Y., Gichunge, C., Tierney, W. M., Le, T. H., Zhang, J., ... Mamlin, J. J.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • November 2009