By Tiwonge Mkandawire, Director, Supply Chain, VillageReach
As a little girl in Malawi, I grew up seeing vehicles carrying supplies (for health and other programs) branded with various donor logos. I remember thinking, when I grow up, I would like to do what they do. But as I got older, those trucks began to symbolize something else for me. They were connected to the relatives and neighbors who would complain about the poor quality of care they received, or would travel long distances to seek treatment in larger health facilities.
That is the image I have when I think of stock outs in public health facilities – real people whose last line of defense fails them in their journey to seek care. Fast forward a few decades, and I am still thinking about stock outs, but now I am part of the solution. For the past year and a half, my work at VillageReach has focused on getting products to people. This is a critical part of the health care delivery system that I have worked on for the past 15 years.
Public Health Supply Chains in Africa are complex.This is nothing new in the global health space. For a long time, we have understood that universal health coverage is only achievable if the systems supporting that health care delivery are strong. For this reason, I was excited to develop VillageReach’s Supply Chain Integration Framework.
For me, integration has always been a key element of building high-performing supply chains. But what is integration exactly? For us, it includes the integration of several critical aspects of the supply chain that are outlined in the white paper, but these aspects will also be topics covered in our new podcast: Products to People: An Integrated Public Health Supply Chain.
As the host of this 4-episode series, I get to have conversations with experts and really geek out about how together the global health community can build high-performing supply chains that are equitable, people-centered, resilient and sustainable. These are the attributes that successful supply chains of the future must have.
Listen to our trailer for Products to People. Each month I will be chatting with guests about the importance of:
- government strategy and stewardship in managing an integrated supply chain,
- supplies getting to the people, beyond the health facility,
- private sector integration, and
- having a professionalized supply chain workforce.
These aspects of integration are less discussed, and I am excited to bring them to the forefront in our new podcast. And whether you are interested in the logoed trucks that carry the supplies, or worry about access to quality health care in your community, I hope you will be part of the conversation – and part of the solution.
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