Sharing best supply chain practices in a South-South exchange in West Africa

Ministries of health from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea are holding a workshop to share knowledge and best practices in the field of supply chain management through data analytics.

March 13, 2023
Africa Resource Centre

Sharing knowledge, learnings and expertise is essential to strengthening supply chains in Africa. As part of this, the ministries of health from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea are holding a workshop from 14 to 16 March 2023, where supply chain technical experts will share knowledge and best practices in the field of supply chain management through data analytics.

Supported by ARC – Africa’s public health supply chain institution – and the World Food Programme (WFP), which is a long-standing partner to the ministries of health in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire’s Direction de l’Activité Pharmaceutique (DAP) will host the conference at the World Health Organization’s premises in Abidjan.

The three West African neighbours each have unique public health supply chain models, but they also have operational similarities and common challenges and opportunities.

Given the strategic importance of supply chain management for the performance of public health systems, and the work underway in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, there is a clear opportunity to share knowledge and experiences. Each country has developed specific expertise, which can be transferred to help their neighbours develop and implement effective supply chain management approaches, most notably leveraging data analytics.

The creation of networks of experts not only promotes the sharing of knowledge but can also ultimately contribute to the emergence of “communities of practice” in health logistics. These communities will be part of developing future solutions for long-lasting, robust public health systems in West Africa.

Regional background

Public health supply chains are characterised by their great complexity. Often, sensitive and expensive products must be transported from their source to hundreds of health centres up to the last kilometre, sometimes in areas that are difficult to access. Many stakeholders participate in the different levels of this chain, which makes coordination essential for ensuring an uninterrupted flow of products. Despite this proven complexity, the supply chain is critical for making quality healthcare services accessible to all, which is why governments, donors and implementing partners are committed to improving the performance of healthcare supply chains.

In West Africa, significant progress has been made over the past decade in managing supply chains, testifying to public health officials’ growing interest and investment in logistics. Considerable efforts have been made to establish logistics management information systems that strengthen the link between physical distribution and information flows in the chain. The evolution towards logistics guided by data and their analysis is undoubtedly one of the critical elements for improving the overall performance of public health distribution systems.

Nevertheless, much work still needs to be done, and stock-outs remain a reality.

Workshop aims

The workshop will be interactive and allow participants to exchange learnings and ideas freely. It will facilitate sharing between technical experts from ministries of health and organisations such as WFP, ARC, Merck and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria about approaches and good practices in the field of health product supply chain management.

Specific topics that will be covered include the logistics control tower approach in Côte d’Ivoire; how data-driven supply chain management can drive operational performance improvements; and success factors in terms of strategies, policies and implementation of initiatives to strengthen planning capacities.