NAY PYI TAW - Myanmar is one step closer to ensuring that women and families throughout the country receive high quality reproductive health services and products thanks to a UNFPA, and in partnership with John Snow Inc. and the Ministry of Health, backed standardized national logistics supply chain system which was announced on Thursday (08 May 2014) in Nay Pyi Taw, the nation’s capital. A total of 26 professionals attended a 7 day intensive training session on how to implement as well as operate the upcoming system.
Of these 22 newly graduated so-called “Master Trainers” consisting of key personnel from the Myanmar Ministry of Health (MoH) will subsequently over the next two months, train over 400 public health staff such as medical officers, midwives, nurses and public health supervisors from all levels of the national health care system on using the system. The system is designed to record, track and manage the procurement and distribution of some 30 essential reproductive health products by computer in different parts of the country.
Within the next 3 months, the new and intricate supply chain system will be piloted in twelve townships, in four states and regions as part of the UNFPA programme. These include Mandalay, Ayeyarwady, Southern Shan and Yangon. The pilot will serve to inform key policy decisions and strategies for implementing a much larger nationwide initiative that will be supported by USAID through the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS).
Ms. Janet Jackson, UNFPA Myanmar Representative, stated that the pilot was a “first step towards establishing a much larger and more complex functional and streamlined supply chain management system which will ensure that the right reproductive health supplies get to where they are needed, when they are needed. The system is meant to be full-proof. It is a standardized national logistics operating system that can help locate gaps as well as identify and respond to different regional requirements.”
The aim is to in the long term expand the system to include a much larger range of categories of health products. It will help the health system to closely monitor demand patterns and trends in product usage. This is important for determining what types of reproductive health products should be made available.
“The systems powerful data collection tools can help monitor on a monthly and quarterly basis data which can be used for research and further analyze consumer needs, habits and preferences. This type of system ensures data flows from the central stores to community level clinics and vice versa. This includes keeping a sufficient stock of life-saving drugs and products for pregnant women, mothers and new born babies,” Ms. Jackson concluded.
The system, once operational, will also help keep track of existing stock levels, storage facilities, distribution of goods including identifying where supplies are needed and get these distributed to the right locations. This will minimize and avoid stockpiling, as well as leakages. Expiry dates can also be closely monitored to make efficient use of supplies.
“An automated database is being planned for later this year, so information can be shared more quickly and effectively throughout the supply chain. This will help inform both short and long term planning, including informing quantities of products to be procured by the government and donors. Once the pilot project has been completed, the findings will be reviewed and implemented nationwide,” said Carmit Keddem, Deputy Director for Health Logistics, John Snow Inc.
The supply chain pilot is the final of 3 phases of activities which included initially an assessment conducted in April/May 2013, to understand the existing system for reproductive health commodity management. Secondly a national logistics system design workshop was carried out in August 2013, to agree on a vision for the system, and design standard tools and processes for managing information and commodities, including a Logistics Management Information System (LMIS). In follow-up to the workshop, the key decisions and processes were documented in a standard operating procedures (SOP) manual, which has already been approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
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