Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet...”
Anita Ramamurthy and Supply Chain Management
My current assignment is to work with various partners (Zanzibar Ministry of Health (ZMOH); USAID/JSI/SCMS/; Danish International Development Agency (DANDIA)) in order to implement a new pilot program that allows for an integrated system for drug distribution and procurement. The goal of this program is to let each sub-facility order drugs through the central warehouse rather than the central warehouse sending a fixed quantity of drugs to each sub-facility. This ensures that each sub-facility gets the appropriate amount of drugs needed according to each sub-facility’s consumptions, which will prevent drug expiry and drug shortages. Right now, 19 sub-facilities on Unguja and Pemba are participating in the pilot program with the hope of expanding it to all of Zanzibar’s sub-facilities by next year.
I have participated in many different tasks such as inventory management, warehouse assessment, supervision of health facilities, and quantification/forecasting. My current goal is to assist the pilot program transition form a manual to a computerized system to manage inventory. My goal is that by the end of the third year, I will have successfully taught staff at the central level how to manage their inventory system through the computer so that they can manage it on their own when I leave. Other goals are to: participate with the assessment of the pilot program in order to plan the program’s expansion; to teach methods in process improvement and planning at the central facility level (i.e. creating standard operating procedures); to assist with properly forecasting drug quantities so that if the pilot program expands they can order the appropriate amount of drugs needed to serve the Zanzibar population.
Challenges I see are mostly at the sub-facility level, such as not having enough staff to fill out the request forms. There was a training conducted last year (which I was not present for), but either those trained have moved on and now there are new staff or they aren’t motivated to fill forms out as they have other immediate duties (like tending to patients) or they didn’t really understand how to fill out the form. For the latter concern, we have been going to mentor the different facilities on how to fill out the forms correctly.
If the pilot goes well, we will include malaria and other programs into this integrated system. We have until the end of 2011 to complete the pilot, at which time we will be quantifying drugs again based on the consumption we see form the 19 facilities.
In photos: gathering consumption data at facilitates; distributing medicine at facilities; picking items for distribution; picture of inside central warehouse.