In July 2016, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya to facilitate the roll out of IMPACT Team Network training. It was good timing as it also gave me the chance to work with the entire Kenya team and learn what more about the approach and how it is implemented.
When on board my flight to Nairobi where I had not traveled for more than 20 years, I had a lot of questions on my mind. I contemplated how the Kenyan participants would react to being told now by a small Tanzanian guy to use the IMPACT Team approach to improve their supply chain, and at the same time, how I could learn from them. I needed to learn the approach so that I would be able to apply it later. Thinking about all of these things made the short flight even shorter.
I landed safely in Nairobi and drove with the team to Kakamega county, wondering about the flyover network of roads in Nairobi and enjoying the scenery of the countryside along the way to our destination. During the first IMPACT Team Network training that I facilitated (for Nandi and Kakamega counties) I could feel the warmth of the Kenyan people, despite the cold weather. The enthusiasm and ambition shown by participants was very encouraging and I honestly believe there will be significant improvement in the county supply chains using the IMPACT Team network approach.
The Kajiado County training was not different from the Kakamega and Nandi training, I saw how data and information can surprise people when they learn how their county is performing—the best part is the ambition to correct the situation or make improvements to reach their desired target.
From the experience that I got on this trip, I’ve seen first-hand how the availability of data in simplified infographics can be a very powerful tool for change and decision making, and how the IMPACT Team Network approach has inspired the county leaders to enact change. I can’t wait to see the impact it will have to the counties’ supply chains.
Matiko Machagge is a Regional Technical Advisor based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Despite the benefits of the devolved health system in bringing health services closer to the people, public health supply chains face diverse challenges, including new structures of procurement, irregular replenishment of commodities, difficult coordination among various levels of the health system, data gaps and increased responsibilities in decision making at the county level. This, notwithstanding the rising pressure for the supply chain to operate efficiently.
Overcoming these challenges requires competent cross-functional teams that will lead the charge in implementing the required changes. The inSupply project is supporting the IMPACT teams in ten counties in Kenya to learn and apply data and management practices. The teams bring together individuals playing critical roles in the county supply chain including leadership, service delivery, program coordination, and information management. You can read more about the IMPACT Team Network in our previous news item here.
The IMPACT teams hold monthly meetings at their place of duty to cement the knowledge gained from the inSupply trainings, measure progress in addressing supply chain challenges identified, recognize short term wins, and plan the next course of action for continuous improvement of the supply chain. During the meetings the inSupply project staff let the IMPACT team leader take charge while they play a more consultative role. Having a cross sectional team during the monthly meeting not only enriches the problem-solving process but also helps tackle the identified supply chain challenges from a “system wide” approach. Indeed, the Isiolo county pharmacist recognized the benefit of these IMPACT meetings when he noted, “these meetings have helped us knock down ‘walls’ separating departments as we are now working together for a common good of our county.”
The inSupply project IMPACT Team approach has been received with excitement and high expectations in the selected ten counties in Kenya: Nairobi, Kajiado, Nyamira, Migori, Kakamega, Nandi, Kirinyaga, Isiolo, Mombasa and Kwale. In June 2016, leaders were taken through a leadership training to prepare them to support county teamscomprised of representatives drawn from the County Health Management (CHMT) in implementing the IMPACT Team approach to continuous transformation of the local health supply chains. You can read more about the June event in our previous news item here.
During the first three weeks of July 2016, inSupply traveled to each of the counties to implement the second phase of the IMPACT team roll out. They met with the county leaders and teams to share management tools and skills to help transform supply chains using data and analytics. The inSupply team technical advisors conducted a two-day training during which the Teams developed action plans based on agreed county performance indicators that will be monitored every month. inSupply provided management diaries to the team leaders at the end of the training which county leaders will use as a tool for recording action plans and deliverables to ensure adequate follow up and implementation.
The IMPACT team approach is unique as it begins with sustainability in mind. Teams are prepared to independently use existing data and structures to update the county-specific Excel dashboards themselves. The IMPACT teams felt empowered as soon as they started working with the dashboards, the Extended Program for Immunization (EPI) coordinator in Kirinyaga exclaimed, “it is unbelievable to learn that we have all along had data that we could use to make informed decisions, but never used it!”
In the month of July, Barbara Lamphere, Alexis Heaton, and Judith Njumwah – Kariuki travelled to Kampala, Uganda to support the national quantification of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) commodities for the years 2016/17 to 2019/2020. The JSI inSupply team provided technical guidance and training in data collection, analysis, methodology and gap analysis, while the pharmacy division played an oversight role, coordinated by the Quantification and Procurement Planning Unit (QPPU).
Before the visit, the team prepared for their time in-country by finalizing with UNFPA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) the specific elements of the quantification activity, providing the MOH, UNFPA, and CHAI with the data inputs for quantification, and making local administrative arrangements for the workshop.
The inSupply team provided training to UNFPA and MOH participants to build their capacity in developing good quality and more accurate forecasts. The team also developed Uganda-specific data collection and quantification tools that could be adapted for future quantification exercises.
During the first week, the inSupply team conducted field exercises and held discussions with MOH leadership on the specific issues or gaps related to the RMNCAH supply chain in Uganda. The team also met with relevant stakeholders to brief them on this short-term technical assistance and to collect additional program information. The second week the team conducted the quantification workshop.
The quantification workshop was successfully completed by the end of week two, with a total of 34 participants. The overall feedback from participants was positive, they appreciated the open learning environment which allowed them to learn from each other in a friendly atmosphere. The participants especially liked the sessions on Pipeline and forecasting methods.
inSupply is supporting the Executive Director of the International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL) to work in collaboration with new and existing partners to establish IAPHL as the leading professional association for public health supply chain experts.
After six months in this role, Andrew Brown reflects on what he has accomplished so far and what his plans are for the next six months. Read his letter to members on the IAPHL website at http://iaphl.org/news/ .
Public health leaders from ten counties in Kenya met on June 7th at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos to participate in inSupply’s IMPACT Network Launch. This event was met with great excitement and enthusiasm from the 50 participants who attended, representing the counties of Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kirinyaga, Kwale, Migori, Mombasa, Nairobi, Nandi, and Nyamira. These participants represent the flagship group for this new initiative. inSupply’s aim is that lessons and results from these 10 counties will catalyze demand and funding to enable the IMPACT Network to spread to additional counties later in the project.
The inSupply IMPACT Network is a system of connected teams that work harmoniously together to achieve a common goal, share experiences and have a strong effect on the supply chains.
Following the launch, inSupply held a two and-a-half day Leadership Initiative Workshop, where participants had the opportunity to build their leadership and change management skills, create a shared guiding vision for the supply chain, and identify strategies for supporting and sustaining the teams and the network, all with the goal of creating a network of supply chain leaders who will lead teams of “change agents” within public health supply chains. The participants were pleased at the progress they made over the course of the workshop – together they were able to learn new leadership skills, develop a goal for their supply chain work, adopt a series of indicators, devise an action plan for their county, and develop a rollout plan.
On March 24, 2016, the University of Rwanda’s School of Public Health launched the East African Community (EAC) Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization, and Health Supply Chain Management (RCESCM). EAC Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera, explained the purpose of the Center “This centre will not only train a cadre of health supply chain managers. It will also continue to harness best practices, pursue innovative supply chain spaces, both in the public and private sectors, and continue to bring in the private sector to participate.”
From March 14-26, inSupply held a Training of Trainers and Quantification of Health Commodities Professional Development Short Course at the University of Rwanda’s School of Public Health in Kigali. The goal of the training was to increase the participants’ knowledge and understanding of the quantification process including the forecasting and supply planning steps and how these activities contribute to commodity security. More specifically, the course aimed to strengthen participants’ abilities to (1) improve the accuracy of forecasts, (2) estimate commodity and funding requirements, (3) develop supply plans, (4) understand the utility of software packages for forecasting and supply planning, and (5) evaluate and respond to environmental or policy constraints to forecasting and supply planning. A facilitation training of trainers was held the first week, followed by the short course, which coincided with the launch of the East African Community Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (EAC RCE VIHSCM). This was the second in a series of short courses that inSupply has conducted in collaboration with the University.
From February 24-25 inSupply’s Project Director, Yasmin Chandani, presented on a panel entitled “Building a strong supply chain environment and delivering new pharma supply chain infrastructure” at the Africa Pharmaceutical Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. She shared JSI’s experience integrating private sector approaches in public health supply chains and discussed inSupply’s unique approach to regional capacity building.