The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with procurement professionals in Sudan to improve its procurement and supply chain management in areas of conflict and natural disasters.
In collaboration with Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the Humanitarian Aid Commission, WHO conducted a five-day training workshop that aimed to equip participants with basic, modern techniques on procurement and supply chain management functions and the utilisation, monitoring and dispensing of drugs.
The training was in response to the shortage of essential medicines in the vulnerable Sudanese regions of Darfur, Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, which has led to high out-of-pocket expenditure for health.
Participants were drawn from a number of different healthcare professions including area coordinators, pharmacists, public health offices and WHO implementing partners.
Dr Murad Ahmed, a pharmacist participant from the FMOH in Khartoum, said meeting the demands of the health sector required a “continuous and sustained investment”.
“We need to promote the capacity of [procurement and supply management in] health workers to enable them to respond to these challenges effectively using the tools and resources available in health facilities and primary health care centres,” he said.
WHO also said managing the shortage of medical supplies was a key factor for health service delivery for communities in Darfur and the Blue Nile, and more recently in the South and West Kordofan states.
According to Sudan’s 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview, almost seven in 10 people (69%) have access to health services, but the physical accessibility to health care facilities varies throughout the country. The overview found that there were 20,779 people per healthcare facility in South Darfur, compared to only 3,039 people per facility in the Northern State.
Last year, Sudan created a National Supply Chain Strategy to integrate the provision of procurement and supply chain services through a cost-sharing implementation plan, which would run from 2017 to 2021.
The FMOH’s National Supplies Fund is responsible for the operalisation of the strategy in addition to being legally responsible for the procurement and distribution of healthcare supplies to government institutions across Sudan.
The National Medical Supplies Fund said its health-related outcomes for the country could be achieved through sustained and deep investment in human resource capacity-building.
Around 137 primary health facilities in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states are run by the FMOH and other field implementing partners. WHO supports these facilities and ensures the availability of safe drugs in Sudan with contributions from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
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