On Tuesday, February 3rd, IAPHL began a discussion titled Looking at the Past to Improve Our Future, which focused on the experiences and reflections that members share regarding the changes and improvements they have witnessed in their supply chains over the past years. In the process, members came to a better understanding of the progress supply chain professionals have made in individual countries and globally.

In response to the question what were the biggest improvements in your supply chain over the past 5-10 years:

Innocent Ibegbunam of Nigeria wrote:
Institutionalizing Procurement and Supply Management Technical Working Group (PSM TWG) Meetings. With the demonstrated benefit of this forum, it became apparent that all funding mechanisms can share resources, minimize stock out and expiries at the facility level.

Institutionalizing National quantification which helped the Government and Donors plan for resource mobilization in Nigeria. It instilled the discipline of asking for a national quantification before procurement could be made.

The unification of the Nigerian HIV/AIDS Supply Chain and the PEPFAR supply chain which improved the efficiency of service delivery, supply chain visibility, and cost-effectiveness of interventions. This increased access to health commodities, reduced stock outs and minimized expiries.

Joseph Bonatson of Nigeria wrote:
…the active engagement of stakeholders at all levels of implementation which did not go without staff dedication and commitment…

Michael Izuchukwu of Nigeria wrote:
The central Coordination of Implementing Partners’, as well as donor agencies’ programs and activities in state’s Ministry of Health have significantly improved service delivery. The Logistics Management Unit is now able to centrally manage logistics data and shares that with management for informed decision making.

Murtada Sesay of Sierra Leone with a career among multiple UN agencies wrote:

He has seen supply chain improvements in the areas of:
(1) Development and use of Tools for Procurement and
Supply Chain capacity assessment (UNDP Public Procurement Capacity Development Guide, the OECD-DAC Methodology for Assessment of Natl’ Proc Systems (MAPS) and UNOPS’ Procurement Efficiency Assessment Tool (PEAT)),

(2) More strategic alignment of the supply functions with
programme objectives and goals.

(3) Operational transparency and accountability
especially control of Procurement process.
The increasing recognition that strengthening national procurement systems makes programme delivery more effective has encouraged donors and countries to conduct diagnostics, develop sustainable reforms, monitor implementation, and commit sufficient resources to support Supply Chain capacity development.

The STRATEGIC response for more effective social programme delivery has recognized the important role of the supply chain and led to improvements in many countries, including Sierra Leone, India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

Elizabeth Igharo of Nigeria wrote:
Under the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), there have been significant improvements in the country’s public sector contraceptives supply chain in particular in the areas of increasing use of logistics data for decision making and coordinating of players for contraceptives commodity security

In response to last mile delivery bottleneck, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT developed a model for resupply based on the review and resupply meetings which provided multiple benefits such as same day resupply of contraceptives, staff performance feedback, mentoring, etc.

Within one year, reporting rates in one state improved from 25.7% to over 90% and stockout rates decreased from 55.6% to 15.2%.

Dugeri Thomas of Nigeria wrote:
The incorporation and mainstreaming of supply chain studies into undergraduate and post graduate pharmacy programs in Nigeria has contributed in deepening its understanding as an indispensable discipline in public health.

Victoria Masembe of Uganda writes
…the supply chain changes that have made a difference have been

  • Pooled procurement which helped reduce prices and the availability of donor funds which helped to make this a reality
  • Systems that are client focused which have improved customer satisfaction
  • Outsourcing services which have increased efficiency
  • The Green logistics movement has helped to significantly reduce quantities of wasted materials and space required for transportation
  • The introduction of electronic systems for commodity tracking

V. Igharo of Nigeria writes that improvements have come from

….the increased local ownership of state programmes through technical coordination and platforms like the Logistics Management Coordinating Units and Technical Working Groups. Also significant is the increase of local state and community resources which ensures multi-level accountability.

Still others noted the better use of data, reduction in wasted commodities and the development of technical committees and working groups.

For the question of what do you think allowed the changes to happen members answered:

Capacity building at all levels, donor coordination and the leadership provided by donor community, engagement by management and SC professionals /leaders, better coordination among those at the state and lower levels, realization of the amount of commodities being wasted, commitment and drive by supply chain champions.

Looking at the Past to Improve Our Future