Optimizing Public Health Networks In Africa
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in a West African nation is responsible for the distribution of all the country’s medical goods. Supplies are stored in a central warehouse and MOH delivers them to intermediary facilities, District Pharmacies (DP) and hospitals, while clinics pick up their supplies from the DPs. While the number of facilities serviced by the MOH had in- creased significantly in the last 60 years, the network’s capacity had changed very little, lead- ing to suboptimal results. MOH needed to know if a decentralized network would increase service levels, if DPs could be used as district hubs in such a model, and if so, which locations would be best.
Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) is a coalition of 13 private sector, non-governmental and faith-based organizations that help organizations like MOH manage their medical networks. SCMS called on LLamasoft® to help model a new supply chain. Through stakeholder interviews, analysis of previously developed reports, and further data gathering the team was able to build a baseline model in Supply Chain Guru®. Multiple scenarios were then created to determine the impact of adding district hubs to the network. The team was able to identify the optimal decentralized network for the distribution of all medical goods.
The analysis showed that existing supply chain issues had to be addressed before decentralization could be considered as stock-outs at the central level will continue to result in low service levels regardless of the network design. Next, if MOH chooses to decentralize its network, no more than three district hubs are needed and the optimal locations were determined. Furthermore, of the three proposed locations, one would have the largest impact and should be scheduled first, for highest return on investment. Finally, due to the sensitive nature of some medicines, it was recommended that these products continue to be shipped from the central warehouse with DPs operating as cross-docks.