UNFPA and health stakeholders in Sierra Leone discuss health supply chain development plan

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 June 2021:

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is supporting Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation to develop a five-year National Health Supply Chain Strategic Plan that will map out a broader view of the current state of the country’s health supply chain, the strategic objectives of the Health Ministry, and outline the roadmap for implementing high impact interventions for strengthening health supply chain systems.

A five-day stakeholders’ consultative workshop commenced yesterday, Monday 21st June 2021 at The Place Resort, Tokeh Beach in freetown, where participants have started working on the  five-year Strategic Plan that will also help to guide investments and coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders involved in Sierra Leone’s health supply chain landscape. (Photo below: Sierra Leone health supply chain conference 21 June 2021).

UNFPA’s Officer-In-Charge, Dr. Stephen Mupeta told the conference that his organization is proud to support the process because it is aware of the fact that most maternal and child mortality in Sierra Leone can be prevented if quality and lifesaving medicines are available at all service delivery points.

“A national integrated supply chain strategy should serve as a common framework for well-coordinated, well-aligned, and harmonized planning, implementation, performance monitoring, and reporting of supply chain interventions that ensure delivery of pharmaceuticals and health technology products to those in need.

“Such a common framework should also be used to structure and enhance existing multi-partner and multi-level financing and coordination mechanisms,” he said.

Reproductive Health Commodity Security, he said, the key components of which will be integral to this national health supply chain strategy, plays a pivotal and strategic role in ensuring that Sierra Leone achieves its national health goals as enshrined in the Medium-Term National Development Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) commitments.

Dr. Mupeta said UNFPA appreciates the commitment of the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to ensuring effective governance of the national supply chain system.

“We urge you to ensure enhanced data management to inform effective planning and program implementation along the entire length of the supply chain system; rational medicines use and strengthened coordination mechanisms, as reflected in the National Health Sector Strategic Plan and the National Medicines Policy. I would like to assure you of UNFPA’s continued support,” he noted.

Chief Pharmacist in the Health Ministry, Jack Lansana said that the national health supply chain strategy will form a framework and a roadmap to specifically guide the Ministry and other line sectors to reaffirm the health supply chain vision, goals, strategies, and means of achieving its desired outcomes within a specified period.

“The strategy and its implementation plan will present a guideline for the priority areas over the next five years to all supply chain players in Sierra Leone,” he said.

The five-day consultative workshop Lansana said, will focus on the following areas: Describing the vision and mission of the national health supply chain strategic plan, aligning with national health sector plan; validating the findings on the current state of the health supply chain in Sierra Leone; defining the strategic objectives for the national health supply chain in the next 5 years; identifying and prioritizing the milestones and key interventions needed to achieve these objectives over the next 5 years; defining effective governance mechanism to monitor and manage the execution of the strategic plan; assess and address potential risks to the achievement of the strategic objectives and/or implementation of the milestones; and agree on the next steps to finalize the endorsement of the Integrated National Strategic Plan and the development of a costed Implementation Plan.

He called on conference participants to remain focused and committed to making these five days stakeholder consultative workshop a success.

Philip Wambua who represented the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) described the supply chain in the health sector as very important to addressing various health conditions and said that some widely discussed medical conditions like blood pressure should be factored in the strategy.

“I hope that this will be an evidence-based strategy”’ he said, and advised that the strategy should address efficiency, and use data for decision-making. He called on stakeholders to ensure that the strategic plan is implemented and should also ensure that clear milestones are set, and structures put in place for accountability.

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