Improving Supply Chain for Health Commodities in Zimbabwe

Based on our longstanding experience in procurement and supply chain management (PSM), EHG was contracted to conduct a supply chain assessment of all public sector health products in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Pharmaceutical Department of the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) and UNDP as the Principal Recipient (PR) for the Global Fund grants in Zimbabwe.

The goal of the assignment was to provide the first ever comprehensive assessment of all public sector health product supply chains (medicines, supplies, and consumables) and all aspects of PSM to determine key strengths and weaknesses, and to make recommendations for priority improvements. 

The very broad assessment covered organisation and staffing, logistics management information systems (LMIS), product selection, forecasting and supply planning, procurement, inventory control procedures, warehousing and storage, quality assurance, transport and distribution, organisational support, product use, finance, donor coordination, commodity security planning, waste management, and leadership at all levels.

The assignment was undertaken by two international senior consultants, Jennifer Lissfelt (team leader) and Stanley Chindove (deputy team leader), two senior national consultants, Denver Raisi, Ruth Chapereka, and  three national research assistants. The team developed questionnaires and conducted interviews in 26 health facilities and 9 warehouses in 8 different provinces culminating in a presentation of their findings in a stakeholder workshop.  A costed action plan with key recommendations and expected short-term, medium-term and longer-term costs of suggested improvements was also presented to key stakeholders.

There was significant interest in the assignment across all MOHCC departments and partner organisations in Zimbabwe, who are aware of the PSM challenges faced including drug stock-outs and shortages.  The goal was to provide them with a guideline for a cohesive approach to invest in needed PSM improvements from early 2014. 

The MOHCC planned to use the results of the assignment to develop a strategic vision and plan for health commodity supply chains over the next 3-10 years and to develop a concept note for new grant funding from the Global Fund (due April 2014) including requests for funding PSM improvements.