USAID to ensure sustained availability of lifesaving drugs, commodities
Ministry of Health and Population and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today 'Health for Life Logistics' – a $2.2 million five-year project – aimed at strengthening the ministry logistics system to ensure sustained availability of essential health commodities in health facility and community settings.
In the fiscal year 2000-01, some 23 per cent of health facilities experienced stock-outs of family planning commodities like condoms, pills, and Depo and 62 per cent of stock-outs of trace drugs like Iron, Vitamin A, Oral Rehydration Salts, and Cotrim P. But over the last 10 years, the ministry’s Logistics Management Information System data demonstrates that year-round stock-outs of family planning commodities at health facilities were reduced to four per cent and stock-outs of tracer drugs to 16 per cent during that same period.
The USAID has supported the ministry in strengthening the logistics system for health commodities since the inception of the Logistics System Improvement Plan in 1994. There remains a need to consolidate gains made to date and to adapt the system to the changing circumstances.
Health for Life Logistics is a nationwide project that will help the ministry monitor its stock of health commodities and use data from the logistics and health management information systems to make decisions about where additional commodities and support are needed.
In addition to its national focus, Health for Life Logistics will increase health service utilisation by the general population with special attention to the poor, marginalized and hard-to-reach population, by strengthening the ministry's existing logistics system in local health facility and community settings. The project will prioritise 14 districts in the mid-Western and Western regions for identification, implementation, and scale-up of best practices.
The activity continues USAID’s decade-long partnership with the ministry to improve the logistics system in Nepal. The USAID, the ministry and other external development partners helped to strengthen the logistics 'pull' system – a demand-based nationwide distribution of health commodities — expand the Web-based Logistics Management Information System for efficient logistics decision-making, improve the supply chain management of health and HIV/AIDS commodities; auction off and dispose of unusable commodities; and make effective warehouse management practices a key priority to decrease wastage.