Access to healthcare is often determined by the availability of medical supplies. Patients equate quality of care with the availability of medicines, and clinicians depend on effective, safe and high quality medicines to provide adequate healthcare. If out of stock, patients suffer and lose confidence in health services. The Jazia Prime Vendor System (Jazia PVS) aims to address the problem of stock-outs with a focus on Tanzania.
"This is a very exciting time for the Jazia PVS team and Tanzania as a nation. We are in the position to transform the supply chain system and complement the public health supply efforts of the Medical Stores Department (MSD) in Tanzania." said Karin Wiedenmayer, a Pharmaceutical Public Health Expert at Swiss TPH.
Addressing the problem of stock-outs
MSD is a governmental organisation in Tanzania that makes great efforts towards providing medicines to public health facilities and the population. The supply chain, however, is a complex system with a variety of stakeholders and a number of challenges where MSD faces obstacles in supplying sufficient quantities of medicines. When MSD notifies the health facilities of stock outs, districts may purchase complementary supplies from various private suppliers. However this procedure is often non-transparent, bureaucratic, and uneconomical.
To simplify procurement procedures and to complement the national supply of medicine, Swiss TPH and the Dodoma region developed the supply channel Jazia PVS, which engages one private sector pharmaceutical supplier as the prime vendor to provide the complementary medicine needed by public health facilities. "Jazia PVS aims at improving the availability of medicines and medical equipment, among other things, through a short lead time." said Sulemani Jaffo, Minister for President's Office of Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG).
Evidence based pilot results lead to national roll-out
Results were convincing: in the pilot region of Dodoma, tracer medicines availability increased from 69% in 2014 to 94% in 2018. Lead time for complementary supplies decreased from up to 100 days to an average of 10 days. Procurement procedures were simplified, standardised and well-governed, which led to the Tanzanian government's request to scale-up the successful Prime Vendor System. The public private partnership model was rolled-out nationally to all 26 regions of mainland Tanzania, covering 185 councils and 5,381 health facilities.
The national launch in Dar es Salaam
The national launch of Jazia PVS took place in Dar es Salaam on 9 October 2018, as it was the first region after roll-out to sign contracts with vendors. The full engagement and commitment of the regional and national authorities was instrumental in advancing this new complementary health commodities supply model.
"Transferring this supply chain intervention to other regions will be challenging, but we are optimistic about its success. Country ownership and continued technical support will be crucial for sustainable operations." said Wiedenmayer.
Health promotion and system strengthening
The Jazia PVS system was developed in the frame of the Health Promotion and System Strengthening project (HPSS) which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swiss TPH. HPSS supports interventions in the areas of health promotion, health insurance, drug procurement and health technology maintenance. The experience of the Jazia Prime Vendor is based on implementation of the model in three regions of Dodoma, Morogoro and Shinyanga.