This course is designed to introduce you to the basic concepts of the supply chain management of medicines and medical products, in the context of low and middle income countries' public health systems. Many of the issues of healthcare quality and safety are consequences of a poor supply chain management of medicines. It is estimated that, globally, an average 25% of the total health expenditure is spent on medicines, with poorer countries spending as much as 30%. Knowledge of the supply chain cycle of medicines and practical skills to enhance its management are important, not only for staff in leadership positions but also for health workers in general. Supply chain management activities are fundamental to any health programme performance and all personnel involved, whether it's an inventory manager in a warehouse, a pharmacist in a health facility or a procurement officer at the central medical store, must have a good understanding of the basic principles of supply chain management.

Course programme

There are many challenges ensuing from the increasing number of stakeholders in the health sector of developing countries. Different stakeholders often have different funding mechanisms and reporting requirements, which makes quantification of essential medicines and medical supplies more complicated. The course addresses the challenges faced during the forecasting and quantification of essential medicines, including HIV/AIDS medicines, anti-malarials and TB medicines. It aims at building up the participants’ capacity to master the forecasting and quantification tasks and to decide for the appropriate procurement planning process based on a profound analysis of the data.

Course programme

Procurement plays a critical role in ensuring the availability of essential quality-assured medicines at all times at an affordable price for the people that need them.

Often international donor organisations and governmental organisations are involved in funding medical programs, resulting in the need of professionally run procurement processes. This course pays special attention to meeting the most common donor requirements and public procurement regulations.

The course guides the student through all steps of the procurement process, such as supplier selection, how to select the best value offer, contracting, quality assurance, measuring supplier performance and much more.

The objective of the course is to provide students solid knowledge about and a good understanding of the procurement process that will help them implement and/or professionalise procurement processes.

The procurement course is suitable for procurement/purchase officers, logistic officers, health officers and professionals with a responsibility in procurement, members of tender committees, pharmacists, program managers and supply chain managers in the public and private sector.

Course programme

Many of the challenges related to healthcare quality and stock-out situations in low and middle income countries are consequences of poor warehouse management of medicines. Appropriate warehousing of medicines, health products and medical laboratory supplies is an essential component of the supply chain management system, required to maintain the integrity of the health products and prevent stock-out or overstocking at any given time.

This course is designed to introduce you to good warehousing practices for medicines and health products within the health system. We will look at warehouse operations in detail covering the receipt, storage and dispatch of essential medicines. Other topics directly related to warehousing are health and safety, waste management and inventory control. Special focus will also be placed on monitoring and evaluation indicators for warehousing, quality assurance, and rational use.

Ensuring the quality of medicines is a major public health concern. The emergence of substandard and counterfeit medicines, coupled with inefficient supply chain systems, not only poses a risk of negative health outcomes but also leads to economic losses and lack of trust in the health system. To address these issues and develop evidence-based strategies, it is important that people at all levels, from policy makers to primary healthcare workers appreciate and comprehend the need for effective QA systems.

This course will introduce you to the concepts and main principles of quality assurance, and will develop further skills and knowledge in different aspects of quality assurance such as pharmaceutical regulation, pharmaco-vigilance and quality control of medicines.