The 2011 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey (UAIS) shows that HIV Infection rates increased to 7.3 percent from 6.4 percent in 2005. In curbing this the Ministry of Health introduced the supply chain rationalization process with one facility having only one supplier and the country having one supply plan based on the procurement supply management (PSM) plan for all sources of ARVs and cotrimoxazole. Medical Access Uganda Limited (MAUL) a private-not-for-profit indigenous Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), that under CDC mandate was contracted to ensure the Procurement and Supply Chain Strengthening Project (PSSP) maintains an effective logistics management of HIV/AIDS-related commodities at CDC funded Health private not-for profit Facilities across Uganda and strengthens their capacity to effectively manage HIV/AIDS logistics.
During the PSSP Partners’ Forum held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on 20th September 2013 , over 200 health professionals from more than 140 health facilities across Uganda, District Health Officers and Implementing Partners (IPs) gathered to share achievements, valuable experiences in HIV care and collective interventions under the theme “Strengthening Supply Systems – A Precursor for Scale-Up”.
At the Partners Forum, the CDC Country Director, Dr. Wuhib Tadesse highlighted the vital role that MAUL plays by driving the CDC objectives using evidence-based practices in strengthening supply chain management systems. MAUL has consistently demonstrated expertise with handling products for an increasing patient load on treatment, rising from 35,230 in May 2011, to 187,342 by September 2013, while stringently maintaining a zero-stock out policy.
To date, MAUL has procured US-FDA & National Drug Authority (NDA) approved products at competitive prices, managed adequate inventory levels of all commodities at all times and delivered to the doorsteps of over 188 facilities across Uganda from only 18 in October 2012.
In “managing integrated & multipronged programs to tackle the HIV burden” in the midst of constrained national resources, strong partnerships remain paramount. As government and IPs create and increase demand for HIV care, the commodities and logistics burden can only be addressed by having functional partnerships in place. In seconding this, Mr. Senabulya’s shared his experience from our partner facility Villa Maria:
“MAUL has demonstrated how easy it is to revolutionize health service delivery to even the lowest levels of service by doing big things in the simple”
There is need to develop a plan to strengthen the capacity of lower level private facilities with the support of the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) to integrate HIV/AIDS care into their health services. More support is also needed to improve knowledge levels in HIV management at health facility level, develop closer partnerships at district level add more resources for HIV data management that will foster commodity accountability. Sources of information that feeds into forecasts and quantification is not easily accessible, non- appreciation of common ARV ordering procedures remain rampant at site level and the Web-Based ARV Ordering Systems (WAOS) is not yet fully operational in this sector. In respect to Laboratory commodities, access to CD4 testing remains low and adherence-to-regimen strategies provide an ongoing challenge.
In going forward, the Forum stressed that to mitigate these issues at facility level, ensuring quality and timely data to inform planning and decision making, collective support efforts by the districts, FBOs and IPs will be a key strategy. To this, MAUL pledged to continue ensuring a collective, yet evidence-based approach in addition to on-site hands-on mentorship and empowerment through its support supervision field team accompanied by IPs.