Health commodity security

Availability and access to high-quality, affordable health commodities are fundamental to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and making strides in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Reliable commodity supply is also a critical driver of reproductive and sexual health.

We support governments and other stakeholders to identify and address supply and demand-side barriers preventing millions of women and children from accessing the care they need. We apply a systems lens to commodity security and find solutions informed by evidence and best practice and our  understanding of the complexity of health systems.

Engaging, informing and adapting: our approach to strengthening commodity security

1. Engaging
We work with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to support evidence generation and decision-making on health products that are inclusive and responsive to the diversity of needs in the health system.

  • In Kenya, our work reduces inequalities to accessing family planning (FP) by ensuring availability of and demand for FP commodities through sustainable involvement of the private and public sectors. We led the development of the ‘Total Market Approach for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Commodity Security strategies (2020-2024)’.
  • We partner with national and sub-national stakeholders to map availability of contraceptives and the flow of FP products and financing to increase supply chain efficiency. In Zambia, we conducted a bottleneck analysis for the last mile distribution of contraceptives which identified solutions to address stockouts at service delivery points.
  • To address the drug accountability gap in Malawi, we designed a community-based accountability programme with Health Centre Advisory Committees as the entry point. This has increased drugs monitoring and oversight at the district level.

2. Informing
Governments and local and global health actors cannot find solutions to accessing health products without quality information. We draw on our local networks, research and expertise to understand the contexts and innovations in the sector and overcome barriers to commodity access and scale-up.

  • We assessed the barriers, enablers and opportunities to improving access and availability of Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) products in low-resource settings for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We identified and prioritised solutions for high-impact scale-up based on a review of evidence and stakeholder consultation.
  • We partner with local civil society organisations to draft investment cases and advocate for increasing resources in domestic budgets for health product supply. Through our evidence-based advocacy work in the WISH programme, governments added a budget line for family planning commodities in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

3. Adapting
We design and implement adaptive multi-component programmes that can respond to the unplanned in new and innovative ways.

  • In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak in Madagascar, we worked with the Ministry of Public Health and national and international partners to fast-track the introduction of self-injectable contraceptives to ensure uninterrupted access to family planning commodities during the country lockdown and beyond.
  • In our work to improve maternal and newborn care in Kenya, we collect, analyse and feedback data, including the availability of health products, to drive immediate improvements in the quality of care. For example, the programme has contributed to strengthening blood availability, haemovigilance and the rational use of scarce blood-related resources.

Results

  • Supported Jigawa State, Nigeria, to set up a process for monitoring family planning commodities at the State, LGA and health facilities level, enabling them to better forecast and reduce wastage of commodities throughout the health system. 
For more information:
+44 (0)20 7430 1900

Our experts

  • Wina Sangala
    Wina applies her background in social sciences, her specialism in sexual and reproductive health and her experience in the health sector to tackle the injustices affecting women and girls. Wina leads the Malawi team in helping to improve the visibility and importance of investing in family planning. She identifies and nurtures partnerships with government and other stakeholders, and also works to advance legal reform around abortion.

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