Supplying Medicines in Haiti and Guyana: USAID Features SCMS Activities

Supplying Medicines in Haiti and Guyana: USAID Features SCMS Activities

 {Photo credit: Jimmy Felix/SCMS in Haiti.}“John” is a healthy 2-year-old, thanks to HIV medication for his mother.Photo credit: Jimmy Felix/SCMS in Haiti.

SCMS and MSH at the forefront of efforts to remove supply chain barriers to the scale up of HIV/AIDS treatment programs

For many of us in the developed world, it is easy to overlook the critical role that well-functioning supply chains play in effective healthcare. When supply chains are operating as they should, we take for granted that the medicines we need will be in stock and available. Yet throughout the developing world, most patients’ access to critical health commodities is much more tenuous; linking medicines to the health professionals that provide treatment and the people who receive care remains a central challenge facing national health systems.

Ensuring that supply chains are sustainable and can tap into high-quality, low-cost medicines, presents an even greater challenge.

Finding innovative solutions to complex supply chain challenges is at the center of the work carried out by the Supply Chain Management System  (SCMS). Led by the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), a nonprofit organization created through a partnership between MSH and John Snow Inc., SCMS seeks to “transform health care delivery by ensuring quality medicines reach people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.”

Established in 2005 as part of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and administered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), SCMS provides a reliable, cost-effective and secure supply of products for HIV/AIDS programs in PEPFAR-supported countries. SCMS works directly with government counterparts and international partners to actively strengthen supply chain capacity and sustainability.

Today, MSH manages SCMS field office operations in 10 countries around the world, including Haiti and Guyana, where supply chain successes were recently featured on the website. In both countries, SCMS and MSH have been at the forefront of efforts to remove supply chain barriers to the scale up of HIV/AIDS treatment programs.

In Haiti, a team of 60 MSH employees implement SCMS activities that include managing the distribution of HIV/AIDS commodities to 120 USAID-supported treatment sites throughout the country. In Guyana, SCMS has worked hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health to complete a new, world-class warehouse, representing an essential investment in Guyana’s supply chain sustainability for the long-term.

Effective supply chains, though not always the most visible contributors to better care, are vital to expanding the opportunity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS to lead healthy lives.

Lily Bower is a senior project officer for the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) at MSH.