Facilitating Stock Transfers to Improve Malaria Commodity Availability in DRC

Apr 2018
Memorandum D'entente Entre Partenaires Intervenant Dans La Lutte Contre Le Paludisme En RDC

Managing malaria commodities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) poses multifaceted challenges due to the country’s huge size, poor infrastructure, and difficultly in accessing quality data on mortality and morbidity. Multiple donors and complicated logistical procedures in procuring health commodities further add to the complexity.

Previously, implementing partners supported by PMI, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Department for International Development (DFID) worked informally to share information about stock status in their respective regions and to exchange products in order to fill gaps and avoid expirations. And, each donor had its own procedures for obtaining approvals for these unplanned transfers.

Partners and donors recognized the need for a streamlined process to exchange and transfer health commodities. PMI took the lead in developing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the three major donors and the Ministry of Health. The purpose of the MOU is to outline procedures, roles, and responsibilities to guide the partners through situations where there is a need to exchange, borrow, or otherwise redistribute malaria commodities. By documenting agreed upon principles and procedures, the process became faster and more agile. The MOU also includes language about the National Malaria Control Program’s role in leading and coordinating donors for commodity procurement and stock monitoring.

The process of developing this document highlighted that all the donors have different policies and procedures for drug quality control, with PMI’s policies being the most stringent. The PMI/DRC team worked with the headquarters’ pharmacists and supply chain team to develop a partner document that outlines PMI’s requirements and procedures for accepting products procured by another donor, including conducting any necessary quality testing. The MOU presents basic principles regarding drug quality and notes that the donors will continue to work on harmonizing procedures, a process which has already begun at the global level.

The interchangeability process allows for efficient redistribution of rapid diagnostic tests that are approaching their expiration date. It also helps fill gaps in insecticide-treated nets distributed through routine channels by using stock remaining from the mass distribution campaign. With the new procedures in place, stock transfers are expedited, so malaria commodities more readily reach and protect the population.

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