Another influential uptake determinant is the availability of the commodity. How long it will take to get the product in the country, whether it will be available through both public- and private-sector outlets, whether it will be available country-wide or just in specific areas, and how rapidly it can be moved from a central location to these sites all will affect the number of the commodity that should be procured. The forecast evaluation around this factor will consider market conditions; in-country procurement, registration, and import regulations; and current national family planning policies and norms. It is essential that those responsible for conducting the forecast have a strong understanding of the program design and implementation plan that will support the introduction or scale-up of the NUM, including the service capacity, the service delivery strategy, and awareness-building campaigns. Additionally, availability depends directly on the supply chain capacity in the country, including the effectiveness of the inventory management, storage, and distribution systems, and functionality of the logistics management information system (LMIS). This analysis needs to cover both public- and private-sector plans, when relevant. Data from the LMIS and service provision assessment (SPA) can inform answers to these questions; other data sources will need to be considered.
Consider public- and private-sector implications for each question.
- How long will it take to get the commodity in to the country, and how does this time frame impact the forecast? Think about how long it will take from forecasting, placing the order, manufacturing the product (if needed), shipping the product, getting the shipment cleared from customs, and getting the product to the distribution center/warehouse.
- What is the reach of the program (e.g., national, district, etc.) and what is the number of service delivery points (SDPs) that can offer the NUM within the country? How will this number change over time?
- Will it be feasible to incorporate the NUM into the existing supply chain in a timely manner (i.e., can the NUM be easily integrated into storage facilities, reporting forms, distribution processes)? As such, will the supply chain be able to get the NUM to appropriate SDPs? How long will this take? Is the country’s pipeline short enough to deliver the NUM to SDPs before it expires?
- What is the distribution strategy for getting the product to SDPs? Consider both the initial supply and re-supply.
- Initial supply: How is initial stock distributed in the country? For example, do you give a small quantity to all facilities and then re-supply based on need?; do you distribute based on the population, and give more to the highly populated areas; or do you give more to the larger facilities and less to the smaller?
- Re-supply: How is re-supply handled? If the facilities need to order stock, does the order form currently include the NUM? If not, how will the order be placed? If yes, do facilities know how to order re-supply?
- What activities are planned to generate demand? When will these activities be implemented? Is there a risk that awareness generation activities will out-pace the availability of the supply?
- Are there reporting and monitoring systems in place to gather information on product usage patterns, and is the NUM included?
- If not, when will the NUM be included? What other mechanisms will be in place in the meantime to gather information on product uptake and usage?
- Are providers trained and competent to record new method users? Are new users being documented accurately?
- If the NUM is included in reporting and monitoring systems, what is the expected lag time for the data to be collected and utilized (monthly, quarterly, every six months?) Who receives and analyzes the data, and is the data shared with all stakeholders?
- Are there additional “complementary” products that accompany the NUM? For NUMs, such as IUDs and implants, consider additional pieces of equipment for insertion/removal, and how the availability of these supplies affect provision of the method.
- Consider the process and timeline for re-ordering supplies to replenish the stock in-country. There may be more flexibility in the private sector to re-order supplies when they are needed, but public sector procurement is usually done annually. What implications does this have for the forecast?