DISTRIBUTION FOR SUPPLY CHAIN

 

 

A health worker prepares to leave for an outreach growth monitoring and vaccination session in a nearby village at the Tokpombu Dama health center in Sierra Leone in September  2013. ©UNICEF/Asselin

A health worker prepares to leave for an outreach growth monitoring and vaccination session in a nearby village at the Tokpombu Dama health center in Sierra Leone in September 2013. ©UNICEF/Asselin

 

Definition:  Distribution ensures the delivery of commodities from the highest level of the supply chain to the locations where the commodities are distributed directly to those who need them. This involves multiple methods of transportation, from refrigerated trucks moving commodities from central medical stores, to district warehouses, to community health workers transporting commodities from rural health centers to community clinics by foot or by bicycle. Distribution is about more than transportation and is highly dependent on other functions of the supply chain working in an efficient and integrated manner. For example, supply chain managers should receive reliable logistics data to procure an appropriate amount of each commodity, plan delivery cycles, and ensure an adequate supply is delivered to each SDP.

What is the problem?

Effective distribution is dependent on reliable transportation, cold chain capacity, timely flow of information for planning, adequate human resources, and sufficient financial resources to support distribution-related costs.

Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) countries currently experience a number of barriers and challenges to improving commodity distribution, including the lack of reliable transportation, long distances to health centers, changing commodity demand, poor distribution planning, and lack of reliable and timely data. These barriers are not easy to overcome, as many of them are complex and interrelated.

Furthermore, the sheer volume of commodities that the health system distributes is growing exponentially, often far beyond the management capacity of the public health system.

Promising Practices

The Supply Chain Technical Resource Team (TRT) has compiled promising practices to address these barriers. They are listed in the table below.

distribution table

Read the whole Distribution brief here.

Indicators to Measure Progress in Distribution

♦ The recommended performance indicator for distribution measures the average amount of time between ordering and receiving products at the health facility.

♦ Additional indicators are:

♦ The percentage of deliveries arriving in good condition
♦ The percentage of days in the year when a vehicle was available to transport products.

Read the full Supply Chain Performance Indicators Guidance here.