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Distribution Networks

The distribution network should be evaluated to optimize the distribution strategy for a reliable and agile supply of health products. This can be achieved through technical assistance and financial support, to the extent allowed by budget availability.

First, it is necessary to confirm the location and adequacy of the different distribution points needed, such as central medical stores, regional stores, local treatment sites. It is then necessary to identify any significant distribution challenges, such as the following: Lack of adequate roads; Seasonal problems such as flooding; Areas of internal conflict; Insufficient storage space at some levels of the supply chain; Insufficient transport capacity; and Long distances between distribution points. The existence of one or more of these significant challenges will affect the next decision about the distribution network – namely, which method of transportation and storage location will be used, frequency of distribution, maximum stock holding at health facility level.

Specific measures must be put inplace for temperature sensitive health products (e.g., use of refrigerated vehicles and/or appropriate cold chain packing) and for controlled products (psychotropic and narcotics). The vehicles carrying the health products should be manned by qualified staff trained on the principles of quality assurance and good distribution practices (alternatively, drivers should receive a training on the basic principles of QA and GSDP)

UNDP COs should also prepare a plan to assess the temperature conditions during transport, using electronic data loggers) in the different segments of the supply chain.

It is important to keep full traceability of batches supplied to the different facilities and this should be part of the contract with the entity responsible for distribution of the products and should appear on packing lists. This information should be available upon request through the warehouse management system in place in central/regional warehouses.

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