A systemic approach to strengthening the supply chain

A systemic approach to strengthening the supply chain

 

As one of the building blocks of the health system, medicines are crucial for the functioning of health care delivery. Availability of medicines supports and motivates health workers in their clinical work, gives people confidence in the public health system and most of all it allows patients to be treated and to get better. Availability of medicines is often equated with good quality of care even though other factors are equally important such as waiting time, empathy, compassion, good diagnostics and functional medical equipment, evidence based therapeutics and affordability of care. In the larger spirit of universal health coverage in Tanzania, medicines availability at health facilities will encourage the population to enroll in the community health fund (CHF).  

  • Medicine Management 4
The supply chain in Tanzania and Dodoma region is characterized by a multitude of actors and activities within a complex chain of interdependent events that are again linked with other building blocks of the health system. The pharmaceutical system encompasses a value chain from the Ministry of Finance which provides funds for pharmaceutical procurement and distribution down to the community who uses medicines. This system is prone to innumerable weaknesses, gaps and loopholes that eventually impact on the availability and use of medicines.

Challenges in the pharmaceutical sector are multifaceted, systemic and complex. HPSS as a project can only influence certain aspects and areas of this system to achieve the expected outcome of more effective medicine management and the expected output of better availability of medicines.

Stepwise and bundled interventions to strengthen the supply of medicines should target gaps in the supply chain that are attainable and sustainable while often overlapping with other health system components such as financing and governance. Critical is the involvement and empowerment of actors, notably the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical staff handling medicines.