Updated Course on USAID Global Health eLearning Center Now Available
Logistics systems are used in a wide range of service industries including restaurants, stores and, of course, healthcare. In short, logistics is the process of getting goods through the supply chain from the point of origin to the point of consumption.
A good logistics system is essential for successful healthcare delivery systems and programs. Population Action International noted that 215 million women worldwide want to avoid pregnancy but have no access to contraceptives. This leads to 53 million unintended pregnancies and hundreds of thousands of pregnancy related deaths. Health commodity stockouts and shortages are considered to be significant barriers to contraceptives as well as other life-saving medications.
An effective logistics system can impact programs in the following ways:
- Increases program impact: if a logistics system provides a reliable supply of commodities, more people are likely to use health services since their needs are more likely to be met.
- Enhances quality of care: well-supplied health programs can provide superior services, while poorly supplied programs cannot.
- Improves cost efficiency and effectiveness: an effective supply chain pays off by reducing product losses due to overstock, waste, expiry, damage, or pilferage.
In the updated Logistics course, learners will read evidence on how improving logistics systems have dramatically improved healthcare service delivery. For instance, the Ministry of Health in Kenya projected that it would need $600,000 to distribute sexually transmitted infection kits to 143 service sites for a 12-month period. After making improvements to the logistics management and information systems, program managers were able to use that same budget to supply 500 sites for more than 29 months.
By the end of this course, learners will have learnt a wide range of logistics principles and practices, as well as highlights of each function of the logistics cycle, including assessing stock status, inventory control, and monitoring and evaluation.