HUMAN RESOURCES FOR SUPPLY CHAIN

 

Pregnant women wait for registration on their first visit after pregnancy at the Maternal Child Health Unit at Parombo Health Centre III in Nebbi District, Uganda. © UNICEF/Noorani Pregnant women wait for registration on their first visit after pregnancy at the Maternal Child Health Unit at Parombo Health Centre III, Nebbi, Uganda. © UNICEF/Noorani.

Pregnant women wait for registration on their first visit of their pregnancy at the Maternal Child Health Unit at Parombo Health Centre III in Nebbi District, Uganda. © UNICEF/Noorani

What is the problem?

Human resources (HR) touches every function in the supply chain from quantification to service delivery. Without motivated and competent staff that have the skills and capacity to operate the supply chain effectively and efficiently, no individual element of the chain functions.

Many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are experiencing a crisis in human resources for health (HRH). The factors affecting this crisis are also key contributors to challenges countries face addressing HR for the supply chain. Not only are there simply not enough workers, the workers that exist are overworked, undertrained, and often deployed in ways that do not best use their skills or meet the needs of the people they serve. These problems are exacerbated by the “brain drain” of workers from LMICs to higher-income countries, the difficulty of retaining workers (particularly in rural areas),  a lack of consistent investment in HR, and inadequate and infrequent training.

Finding well-trained professionals to support effective supply chain management (SCM) is particularly problematic because logistics tasks are often shifted to health personnel who are not adequately trained in supply chain management. Assigned health personnel do not know how to carry out logistics tasks such as how to quantify and procure needed medicines and supplies, receive and store commodities, and track inventory. In addition, health workers are mainly responsible for providing services, making logistics tasks a secondary priority.

Despite a clear overlap between HRH and supply chain management, leaders from these two groups often do not have formal mechanisms for communicating and strategizing together.

 

Promising practices

The four promising practices highlighted in this brief address the most common barriers countries face in HR for SCM.

Human resources table

Read the full Human Resources brief here.

Indicators to Measure Progress in Human Resources

♦ The recommended performance indicator for human resources measures whether training in supply chain management for RMNCH commodities has been deployed to service delivery points at the district level.

♦ Additional important indicators are:

♦ Percentage of facilities where at least one active health worker with supply chain management responsibilities has been trained in supply chain management (whether through internally or externally developed and administered training).

♦ Percentage of facilities that received supervision visits including supply chain management according to schedule.

♦ Existence of documented supply chain management standard operating procedures for supply chain management tasks at each level of the in-county supply chain.

♦ Existence of pre-service supply chain management curriculum developed and/or implemented in relevant schools and total number of students who have completed the pre-service course work. This indicator monitors the availability and provision of pre-service training in supply chain management.

Read the full Supply Chain Performance Indicators Guidance here.

 KEY ACTIVITIES

 

The Supply Chain Technical Resource Team (TRT) supported the development of the Promising Practices in Human Resources brief to advocate for investment in best practices for human resources for supply chain.

The Supply Chain TRT also contributed to the Private Sector Engagement: A Guidance Document for Supply Chain in the modern context.