Overview

Poor infrastructure and a lack of funds greatly impede access to life-saving medicines at DRC health facilities. Without these medicines, infants and young children die of acute respiratory infection, pregnant women die during childbirth, and families cannot control their fertility. Continuously providing basic medicines, therefore, is an extremely important part of any primary health care program.

Unfortunately, at the start of ASSP, stock-outs of essential medicines were frequent at nearly all sites. A variety of factors contributed to the poor state of pharmaceutical management in the DRC: Healthcare workers needed training in stock management, transportation and communication were challenging, and decentralized drug warehousing was lacking.

Ensuring adequate supplies to medicines is a core component of ASSP’s mandate. It is particularly important for the project’s sustainable community financing strategies. Clients expect to pay a single reduced fee for services and prescriptions. If they don’t receive the medicines when they pay, they may feel ‘cheated’ that they did not receive what is mandated by their user fee and they may also lack the means to find the medicine elsewhere. This can create a barrier to accessing care in the present and future.

Our Approach

ASSP strives to increase utilization of health care facilities as part of its mandate of improving maternal and child health and primary healthcare. Ensuring a continuous supply of essential medicines within target health zones is a key objective toward achieving that goal. ASSP’s medicine program reinforces the national distribution system by using CDRs, a pull system that gives each health facility a line of credit based on the number of patients they are seeing.

Secondary objectives include reinforcing the supply chain through regional pharmacy depot creation and increasing community and health facility-based revenue for drug procurement and transport.

Key Achievements

  • ASSP brings in $10 million of medicines per year
  • ASSP-supported health zones are increasing their drug recycling rate, which is the proportion of funds generated from drug sales at the health center level that is returned to the drug credit line. This demonstrates that some health zones are creating financial reserves for future procurement use.
  • ASSP continues to construct or renovate satellite drug depots, enabling the timely shipment and regional storage of key medicines.
  • 26 sentinel sites were established to strengthen human resource capacity in management tools and drug data reporting skills.

Publications