Ensuring HIV and AIDS Patients Receive Uninterrupted Treatment After Fire Destroys a Regional Pharmacy in Côte d'Ivoire

 {Photo credit: Beata Imans/PFSCM}Patients continue to receive their medicines at the counter of the temporary pharmacy.Photo credit: Beata Imans/PFSCM

On the night of December 17, 2014, a fire caused by a short circuit engulfed the pharmacy of the Divo regional hospital, one of the hospitals that provides medical services to more than one million inhabitants of the Loh-Djiboua region of Côte d'Ivoire. Despite the quick response and joint efforts of the neighboring community, $43,000 worth of general medicines and $54,000 worth of antiretrovirals (ARVs) were destroyed. Though the laboratory equipment was recovered, the laboratory was no longer functional as a result of fire damage.

Immediately after the fire, the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) met with the regional pharmacist and hospital representatives to assess the damage and identify next steps to mitigate any potential disruption in health services. SCMS—a project established in 2005 under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), administered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and led by the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), a nonprofit organization established by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and John Snow, Inc.—supplies lifesaving medicines to HIV and AIDS programs around the world.

SCMS supported the hospital in assessing the need to place an emergency order for ARVs and other essential drugs to the central medical store, Nouvelle Pharmacie de Santé Publique (NPSP). SCMS additionally leveraged local partnerships to identify temporary storage rooms for the new stock and some of the medicines salvaged from the fire. Products are being stored at the office of the regional pharmacist and at the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP).

SCMS also provided logistical assistance to maximize the usable space left at the hospital by reorganizing the available space and opening a temporary pharmacy. A waiting room was divided by a partition, allowing for a portion of the room to be used for ARV distribution.

Despite the challenges, SCMS’ timely support to the hospital allowed for the provision of continuous service to patients. Since the fire, ARV distribution has continued without interruption to the Loh-Djiboua region and no stockouts of general medicines have been reported.

“I keep getting my medicines as before. I get [them] every time I come here, even after the fire,” said Etienne, a young mother on ARV treatment.

Even before the fire at the Divo regional hospital, SCMS had partnered with NPSP to renovate a number of regional pharmacies across Côte d’Ivoire, improving storage conditions and ensuring more reliable access to medicines. Divo’s regional hospital pharmacy was later included in these efforts and renovation of the pharmacy was completed in November 2015.

[This is 1 of 12 stories in the 2016 special edition Global Health Impact newsletter. Click here to read more.] {Photo: Gwenn Dubourthournieu}This is 1 of 12 stories in the 2016 special edition Global Health Impact newsletter. Click here to read more.Photo: Gwenn Dubourthournieu