Provinces align strategies to improve medicine distribution in Mozambique
Last Mile Supply Chain (LMSC) is an innovative and efficient model for medicines and vaccines distribution, implemented by VillageReach in partnership with the Government of Mozambique and private sector companies in 2018. The Gaza and Inhambane provincial government introduced LMSC in November 2020 and January 2021, respectively, with Maputo province beginning operations in May 2021.
With the objective to improve the LMSC implementation process, three provinces gathered in Inhambane province with a unique opportunity to share experiences on how to respond to the changes resulting from the new distribution model.
Respected doctors, EPI leads and logisticians made up the delegation from the three provinces. Among many challenges, the participants shared during the discussions, integration of vaccines into routine medicines distribution dominated the sessions. They noted how it required flexibility from different sectors to align the distribution phases and work collectively to ensure people get the products they need.
Beside its good performance with implementing outsourced distribution, Inhambane was the first province to use an intermediary warehouse. The Pharmaceutical Logistics Strategic Plan (PELF) outlined this as part of its directive. The participants had the opportunity to witness how the process happens and how it affects the whole distribution circle.
“This approach has so far brought many positive aspects in the distribution process, such as the reduction of distribution time, reduction of workload for both EPI and DPM, as well as improving the communication among the two sectors and, most important, improved the quality of services provided,” described Aníbal Mudumela, EPI Manager for Inhambane province.
When the country received its first COVID-19 vaccines, LMSC played a central role in ensuring that the vaccines moved from provincial warehouses to the districts, where most of the vaccination posts were installed. For health authorities and managers at the provincial level, this required additional expertise in planning, which was provided by VillageReach as part of the LMSC technical assistance.
With the addition of the three provinces, LMSC now covers all provinces in the country, delivering essential medicines and vaccines to more than 1,200 health centers where the majority of Mozambicans access health care.
Based on an integrated, outsourced distribution model, introducing LMSC required a rapid shift in the working practices and culture of the main actors at the provincial level. Health care workers were no longer going to spend time on managing the logistics of vehicles, including loading, unloading and distributing medicines. Private companies, with the leadership of warehouse staff, are now responsible for these tasks.
At the end of the visit, participants praised the knowledge and experience shared by the representatives from all provinces.
“We hope these interactions continue as we continuously learn from each other, for the benefit our patients who will get medicines they need every time they go to a health center,” stated Celestina MariaConceição, head Doctor for Maputo province.
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