ARTICLE

ARC ENGAGEMENT STORIES: INTRODUCTION

THE STORIES IN THIS BLOG SERIES ILLUSTRATE THE DIFFERENT WAYS ARC IS HELPING COUNTRIES ENGAGE PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERTISE TO STRENGTHEN THEIR HEALTH SUPPLY CHAINS AND DESIGN INNOVATIVE NEW APPROACHES THAT ENSURE MEDICINES ARE AVAILABLE TO THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THEM.

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The Africa Resource Centre (ARC) is a network of supply chain experts across east, west, and southern Africa who are dedicated to helping governments improve access to life saving medicines and vaccines. There are many donors, development partners, and technical assistance partners working on health supply chains across the continent. ARC was established to complement these different contributors by becoming governments’ independent advisors in coordinating and leveraging these and other players to achieve collective impact. ARC focuses on a variety of thematic areas:

  • Increasing supply chain visibility to improve governance by deploying online dashboards for key performance indicators and building a culture of data use.
  • Enabling public-private partnerships by connecting commercial and non-commercial expertise with governments to apply private sector supply chain approaches or provide supply chain services.
  • Establishing international academic and training partnerships and programmes to develop a new generation of supply chain professionals in the health sector who are recognised and valued as an essential discipline.
  • Identifying supply chain innovations and opportunities including in last mile distribution, to adapt and replicate them in other geographies.
  • Exploring how supply chain innovations can contribute to improving access to quality primary health care services.

The stories in this blog series illustrate the different ways ARC is helping countries engage private sector expertise to strengthen their health supply chains and design innovative new approaches that ensure medicines are available to the people who need them. These stories also illustrate the importance of ARC’s regional network in identifying and propagating promising solutions from one country to another.

  • In Nigeria, ARC is supporting the Federal Ministry of Health’s Warehouse Visibility and Governance project to improve warehousing operations in state medical stores and federal oversight of the public health supply chain.
  • Also, in Nigeria, ARC is helping federal and state agencies leverage local pharmaceutical companies to distribute quality and affordable medicines to primary health centres and their clients.
  • In South Africa, and later in Kenya, ARC recruited commercial supply chain experts to support the launch of a new first-line antiretroviral therapy regimen and transition plans for replacing the existing regimen.
  • In Senegal, ARC is partnering with Institute Africain de Management, the University of Michigan, MIT, London Business School, Künhe Fondation and others to build local supply chain talent through academic degree programmes and professional short courses.
  • In Uganda, ARC has recruited a supply chain expert from a beverage distributor to work with the Ministry of Health in designing a multi-channel distribution system for HIV medicines. This work was based the success of a similar system established in South Africa, where ARC documented the business case for expanding and replicating multi-channel distribution.

In each of these examples, ARC has engaged private sector experts who are applying commercial best practices to address diverse supply chain challenges. They illustrate how ARC works as a trusted partner to government agencies, brokers connections between governments and commercial and non-commercial companies, and complements the efforts of other stakeholders in achieving effective and sustainable health supply chains.

Read about how ARC helped to ease the transition to a new HIV therapy in Kenya and South Africa.