The Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched Health for Life Logistics, a $2.2 million, five-year project aimed at strengthening the MOHP logistics system to ensure sustained availability of essential health commodities in health facility and community settings.
In 2000/2001, 23 percent of health facilities experienced stock-outs of family planning commodities (condoms, pills, Depo) and 62 percent of stock-outs of trace drugs (Iron, Vitamin A, Oral Rehydration Salts, Cotrim P). Over the last 10 years, the Ministry’s Logistics Management Information System data demonstrates that year-round stock-outs of family planning commodities at health facilities were reduced to 4 percent and stock-outs of tracer drugs to 16 percent during that same period.
USAID has supported the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) in strengthening the logistics system for health commodities since the inception of the Logistics System Improvement Plan in 1994. There remains a need to consolidate gains made to date and to adapt the system to the changing circumstances. Health for Life Logistics is a nationwide project that will help MOHP monitor its stock of health commodities and use data from the logistics and health management information systems to make decisions about where additional commodities and support are needed. In addition to its national focus, Health for Life Logistics will increase health service utilization by the general population with special attention to the poor, marginalized and hard-to-reach population, by strengthening the MoHP’s existing logistics system in local health facility and community settings.
The project will prioritize 14 districts in the Mid-Western and Western regions for identification, implementation, and scale-up of best practices.
This activity continues USAID’s decade-long partnership with the MOHP to improve the logistics system in Nepal. USAID, the MOHP and other External Development Partners helped to strengthen the logistics “pull” system (demand-based nationwide distribution of health commodities); expand the Web-based Logistics Management Information System for efficient logistics decision-making; improve the supply chain management of health and HIV/AIDS commodities; auction off and dispose of unusable commodities; and make effective warehouse management practices a key priority to decrease wastage.
According to a press release of Public Affairs Section Embassy of The United States, health for Life Logistics will support the expansion and sustainability of these successes to date through three objectives: 1) improving decentralization of logistics management systems; 2) integrating the HIV and general health logistics systems; and 3) building on the existing capacity of the MOHP Logistics Management Division to reduce future need for external support.
USAID and the MOHP signed a partnership agreement for implementation of Health for Life Logistics. The project will be implemented by a recently formed Nepali NGO, Lifeline Nepal, with Management Support Services as the sub-partner. Sheila Lutjens, USAID Acting Mission Director, noted: “For over half a century the United States Government, through USAID, has supported the Government of Nepal in the health sector. I am delighted for the opportunity to once again formalize USAID’s ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population to ensure that lifesaving drugs and commodities are reaching those in greatest need across the country.”