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PSM - Distribution

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In-country distribution systems are designed to move health products down the pipeline from the national central warehouse until they are dispensed at the final service delivery point. They are key to maintaining an uninterrupted supply of health products.

A well-managed distribution system should achieve the following objectives:

  • maintain a constant supply of medicines;
  • keep medicines in good condition throughout the distribution process;
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  • ensure controlled transport conditions;
  • minimize losses of medicines due to spoilage and expiry;
  • maintain accurate inventory records;
  • rationalize medicine storage points;
  • use available transportation resources as efficiently as possible;
  • reduce theft and fraud;
  • provide information for forecasting medicine needs.
  • Source: WHO Model Quality Assurance System for Procurement Agencies (MQAS), 2014

UNDP's support

UNDP has been involved in supporting the assessment and strengthening of national supply chains in several countries in Africa, as well as the Arab States and Central Asia.
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As part of the development of supply chain strategies, distribution needs have been addressed supporting national counterparts to design the most optimal distribution system for the country context. This has resulted in strengthening the national distribution supply system, either managed by the central medical store or outsourced. In the first instance, UNDP has also supported the process with the provision of refrigerated trucks and other vehicles for distribution up to service delivery points. UNDP has also promoted the use of data loggers and other innovative tools in the distribution chain of several countries to ensure monitoring of temperature during transportation.

UNDP's offer

Expertise is available in the assessments of national supply chains with the identification of needs and their prioritization.
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UNDP offers support in the formulation of subsequent supply chain strategies, including designing and operationalizing distribution systems, in compliance with WHO Good Distribution Practices. This support is also complemented by structural and pilot projects to improve the Logistic Management Information System, which is essential to plan, monitor and review distribution cycles at different levels of the supply chain.

Guidance

WHO has established standards for distributions of pharmaceuticals, which are known as Good Storage Practices:

For additional reading on distribution cycles and transport of health products, the following resources are suggested: