February 22, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The National Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit (NPPU) last Friday announced it would commence distributing free healthcare drugs to hospitals and peripheral health units (PHUs) countrywide from 29 February to 30 March, as part of the first quarter of over $6million worth drugs for 2016.
Briefing newsmen in the conference room of NPPU, Managing Director Michael Jack Lansana stated that the distribution would be done in collaboration with the UNICEF and CAIPA.
He explained that the current stock constitute some 250 items, worth about US$3.5 million, while the British Department for International Development (DFID) contracted UNICEF to manage an expedited procurement for 109 items worth $2.6 million.
Mr. Lansana added that DFID also approved 25 additional products worth approximately $300,000 from CAIPA’s Ebola products, to be repurposed for free healthcare use.
“For this current distribution, DFID in collaboration with UNICEF and CAIPA have brought in stock to complement NPPU’s products. We have been working closely with the two organisations to plan and manage this current joint distribution process,” he stated.
He revealed that the drugs would be distributed to 23 hospitals and 1,209 PHUs across the country.
Although NPPU’s distribution process will remain consistent with previous quarterly distributions, Mr. Lansana stated that there would be some specifications in place for management of DFID donated stock.
According to him, stock donated by DFID and managed by their implementing agent CAIPA, would be prepared at the central warehouse in Freetown for the various hospitals and PHUs based on the allocation matrices developed by hospital and District Health Management Teams.
“The established reverse logistics process from the districts to central level will continue during this distribution and the district teams have been informed to organise and document their stock,” he said and added that the unit and CAIPA would also follow-up with monitoring, to be closely coordinated with staff from the DHMTs.
Commenting on the fourth quarter distribution for 2015, the NPPU’s Managing Director noted that the process, which commenced from 23 November to 23 December, was led by them with close planning and coordination with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation as well as UNICEF, who were tasked with overseeing the distribution of USAID-funded stock.
He disclosed that although the collaboration for the distribution was very successful, one of the takeaways from the process was the need for donors to integrate within the NPPU’s national supply chain system.