‘Last-Mile-Distribution’ – solution to drug shortages
DPI, Guyana, Friday, April 5, 2018
The Ministries of Public Health and Communities are collaborating to develop a schedule using the ‘Last-Mile-Distribution’ method to address the issue of shortages of pharmaceutical drugs in Guyana.
This was recently disclosed by the Director of the new Material Management Unit (MMU), Cecil Jacks, in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI). The MMU is the central medical stores responsible for delivering drugs to 382 facilities across the country.
Jacks explained that following a study conducted by the USAID Global Health project GHSC [Global Health Supply Chain] office, last June, it was advised that the Last-Mile-distribution method be used. This method “is literally the availability of the medicines from not only the MMU (the central medical stores at Diamond) but right down to the health facility.”
The distribution schedule will ensure that pharmaceuticals are delivered quarterly in every region. The Last Mile consultant will liaise with the region to ensure a smooth flow of delivery.
Jacks further explained, there is a “one annual procurement open tender and we are asking for two delivers a year because we set our minimum stock level so every time the new procurement process flow- where every department- they are to do specifications- all commodities they will be using for the year Jan-May (regional forecast which will help the yearly budget -forward planning” which will result in all facilities having adequate supply of medications throughout the year.
The study also suggested that pharmaceutical grade delivery trucks be budgeted for in each region, especially the hinterland. Jacks has suggested that for the hinterland “we are advocating that the strategy would be to outsource” the Last Mile distribution.
“It would be a burden on the Ministry of Public Health to actually own boats and a fleet of trucks; we will then have to hire mechanics, a workshop and all of this,” hence, it was suggested by the regional authorities that they undertake that task.
Jacks, who is also the Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Public Health on the Global Health Supply Chain Management, said proper pharmaceutical forecasting techniques were not used in the past, “this coalition government has been on the ball to ensure that proper studies are done and implemented to mitigate against shortage risks. Positions have been advertised for the various levels in the MMU, and tenders have been advertised as well”.
By: Zanneel Williams