Written by Anne Marie Hvid, Knowledge Management Advisor, JSI and
Sarah Hiller, Communications Technology Coordinator
HIV and AIDS advocates highlight progress in treatment programs, but in developing countries, otherwise successful programs are stopped in their tracks because of limited supplies. At the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, DC, the International Association for Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL) is talking to HIV and AIDS service providers and providing resources on how to solve supply chain management problems.
The need for improved supply chains is evident in the stories told by conference attendees. We met Tope Aboyewa, a senior programme officer with the Kids and Teens Resource Center in Nigeria, at the IAPHL booth in the Global Village area of the conference. His center, which provides HIV counseling and testing services, has been stocked out of HIV test kits since 2010, aside from sporadic donations of supplies from partner organizations. When the center had enough kits, they were testing around ten people a day; now that test kits are scarce they have to turn people away.
Gertrude Mushabe, a delegate from the Bethesda Project in Uganda, runs a mobile community health unit and echoes Aboyewa’s experience. “If we had more supplies, we could help more people. The need is there, the community is there, we just need the supplies.” Her mobile health unit goes to rural areas and villages in the three districts with the least access to care, but the unit is often stocked out of supplies, including malaria, HIV test kits, and other products, like gloves.
Aboyewa, Mushabe, and others who work to get services to patients know the importance of the supply chains that funnel drugs and medical supplies to health clinics and hospitals. While funds donated for supplies to treat HIV and AIDS are increasing, more money is needed to support the delivery systems that get the supplies to the people who need them. Much work has been done by national and international partners, and much more remains to be done before public health supply chains can meet the needs of all. IAPHL is one of the organizations that support this work.
IAPHL is a community of public health logisticians dedicated to improving public health supply chain management by promoting the professional development of those who work with health supplies, including nurses, pharmacists, and others carrying out logistics tasks. IAPHL is funded by the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and John Snow, Inc.
For more information about IAPHL visit www.iaphl.org.