Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

14 January 2014

Tanzania: Drugs Stores Needs Sh3 Billion to Deliver Supplies

THE Medical Stores Department (MSD) needs at least 3.1bn/- for acquisition of new fleet and replacement of the worn-out vehicles as the agency strives to supply medicine and other medical supplies to all regions through Direct Delivery (DD) system.

The amount excludes the other funding needed to meet the running costs of the required fleet, estimated at 1.8bn/- per annum.

According to MSD's sixyear 2014-2020 Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP), the need for increased trucks and more efficient and effective logistical systems and zonal operations is inevitable for smooth implementation of the strategy.

The strategy comes as the government directed MSD to start delivering medicine and medical supplies directly to health facilities aiming at strengthening health care service provision at the lower level health facilities.

Already, the department has started the implementation of the directive since 2010/2011 and by the following year, ten regions have already been covered by the programme while the remaining 16, including Zanzibar, will be covered by end of this financial year.

The plan according to MTSP, however, will also focus on investing more on fleet for distribution from Zonal stores to health facilities and reduction of fleet from DSM to Zonal Stores through outsourcing process.

Delays in delivery of medicines and other medical supplies have remained one of the challenges in ensuring timely and quality delivery of the health services in the country with a number of players being accused for the malpractice.

It is suggested that after the DD is fully rolled out to all health facilities, MSD should consider outsourcing some of its supporting services such as transport to Zonal Stores and from Zonal Stores to areas where there is efficient private sector engagement.

Increased requirements for human resources capacity particularly a need to recruit additional drivers and truck assistants is some of the mandatory options the department has to follow as it struggles to raise huge funding to roll out its strategic plan.

But to reduce the costs and increase efficiency, it is considered that all Zonal Stores be turned into Strategic Business Units in order to increase efficiency and decentralize the activities.

However, MSD, through its new Strategic Plan, has outlined a number of strategic areas including introducing an electronic Logistic Management Information System (eLMIS). MSD Head of Information and Communications Technology Unit Isaya Mzoro told the 'Daily News' that the arrangement was in the final stages and might take off by next month if all go well.

"Once in full application, the eLMIS will provide more robust data visibility into the national medicine supply chain for better informed decision making apart from simplifying the operations and smooth drug distribution," he said.

In ensuring effective implementation of its new strategic plan, MSD expects to realise total revenue of 1.82trn/- mainly from sales of normal, special and vertical programme health commodities and services.

Apart from the government, MSD major supporters include the Global Fund, USAID, World Bank, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and DANIDA.

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