Supply chain enhancements
The supply chain enhancement section includes programs that reduce costs and improve efficiency of supply chains that move medical products from manufacturer to retailer. Supply chain efficiency is critical for ensuring access to medicine, which is defined as having medicines continuously available, affordable, and geographically accessible at health facilities or medicine outlets.
Even if patients access quality services and providers give correct diagnoses, patients may still fail to recover when they fail to receive the proper medications. Ensuring access to medicines and other key health products has proved to be a substantial challenge in low- and middle-income countries.
Healthcare supply chains impact the quality, affordability, and accessibility of a given medication. CHMI-profiled programs working to enhance supply chains are developing innovations in the basic four steps present in most supply chains: production, procurement, distribution, and delivery. Within production, one popular innovation involves bundling medicines with other key products so that consumers are guaranteed comprehensive care. ColaLife in Zambia produces diarrheal kits known as “Kit Yamayo” containing oral rehydration salts, zinc tablets, soap, and educational materials. In the category of procurement, several programs develop purchasing tactics to reduce the cost of medicines. Kollyani Clinics in Bangladesh partners with GRAUS, a local NGO, to purchase drugs below market rates and provides seed money to clinics to purchase drugs. In order to impact distribution, organizations like APECA in Peru are using alternative means of transportation. APECA distributes medical chests of essential medicines using boats and canoes to communities along the Amazon River. Other programs are utilizing existing commercial supply chains to readily supply health products to consumers. Lastly, innovations affecting delivery like HealthKeepers in Ghana, Living Goods in Uganda and Kenya, and Project Shakti in India, are modeling a program in which local women are employed to sell health products to community members on that of the cosmetic company Avon.