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The importance of supply chain management in health systems strengthening

Representatives from various countries discuss the challenges that can arise when supply chains cannot meet the needs of the health system.
SYLVESTER KATHUMBA: As Malawi, we do not have a supply-chain strategy. There are a number of areas in supply chain that are just being done by different partners, without proper coordination from a minister of health. We do not have a very vibrant monitoring, reporting, and evaluation system of the supply chain.
RAMATU SHA’ABA: There is very limited visibility at the last mile and also issues with HR capacity, at that level. There’s been lots of concentration also on the rural areas and forgetting that now many people are moving into these urban areas. And we’re not catering to many of these people, which is affecting even the way we forecast.
NAY MYO THU: The lack of the professional area and the professional network for the supply chain; the limited availability of this supply-chain information. At the warehouse, structures are outdated, and they need to be revitalised to meet the increased demand and the program implementation.
MACOURA OULARE: The procurement process is taking a lot of time. When the product is in the distribution from the hubs to the service delivery point is challenging. It is challenging. You know, and that is why, you go to some facilities, you really do not have product available. The data, information, that can really help them to make a critical decision about the supply chain and everything is not either available or, when it is available, they are not utilised for decision-making.
QURRAT UL AIN: The issue of access to the last level of health facility, that is a big challenge. And second is the capacity-building of the staff involved in that supply chain.
ANDISHEH GHAZIEH: The country is recently coming out of the major earthquake, back in 2015. So a lot of infrastructure has been demolished or been damaged pretty hard.
OLENA KOSTIUK: Data management, for example, like waste management, stock management, quantification.
RENE GERARD GALERA: We still don’t have a solid, comprehensive supply-chain strategy. Nutrition is currently riding on the health supply chain. And oftentimes these are not considered to be delivered alongside the health commodity.
ILITONGO SAASA SONDASHI: Medical Stores Limited is mandated only to store and distribute. So we are not currently carrying the procurement function. So the procurements are done by the government and its cooperating partners. So, with that regard, then, there’s a disconnect between the stock that we are keeping and the influx of that stock into medical stores. So then we do tend to find that our challenges are inadequate stocks to be able to meet the demand.

Watching this video, we counted over 16 distinct challenges that were mentioned including (but not limited to): fragmentation of the supply chain system with different donors and poor coordination between them; a mismatch between the procurement systems and the warehousing and distribution capacity; weak data management; under resourced staff capacity; geographical challenges, especially for the ‘last mile’; and little integration between the supplies of nutrition, immunisation and medical commodities.

In your country context, what would be the top three supply chain management challenges?

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Health Systems Strengthening

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