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inSupply launched our monthly newsletter this past January to keep stakeholders up to date on project achievements, new activities, and ongoing collaboration with our partners and clients. We will be adding our historical newsletters to our website over the coming weeks.
After establishing and supporting county-level IMPACT Teams for the past nine months, inSupply began the process of transitioning IMPACT Team operational processes to leaders in the 10 focus counties. In February 2017, inSupply and the counties held a series of Leadership Cluster meetings which brought together the county IMPACT Leaders who were initially trained on the Leadership Initiative in June 2016, and were empowered to lead the IMPACT teams and support their monthly activities.
The goal of the meeting was to improve county IMPACT leaders’ ability to plan for and facilitate monthly IMPACT team meetings, consistently use the data-driven process to facilitate achievement of targets and results, and sustain, and grow the IMPACT Team Network. Peer-to-peer learning is critical to the IMPACT Team approach and the meetings purposefully included a mix of counties to allow for greater collaboration and shared learning. The agenda was focused on the critical aspects that the inSupply team felt needed to be transitioned to the leaders, including:
Participants were encouraged to explore opportunities for engaging other partners and projects to adopt and support the IMPACT team approaches. The main outputs of the meeting were sharing of county IMPACT successes and achievements and the development of a transition plan.
These Leadership meetings were clustered in three groups: the ‘Nairobi’ cluster brought together 11 participants from Nairobi, Isiolo, and Kirinyaga counties; the ‘Kisumu’ cluster had 16 participants from Nandi, Kakamega, Migori, and Nyamira counties; and the ‘Coast’ cluster had 12 participants from Kajiado, Mombasa, and Kwale counties. Three external supply chain partners from the USAID supported Afya Jijini and Pwani projects also participated in the meetings. Their engagement and involvement gave additional support to the transition and they agreed to take up the IMPACT Team approach and support the monthly meetings.
Evaluations from the meetings revealed that participants mostly enjoyed sharing their county achievements, learning from each other and the data challenge exercise (interpreting the visuals from the Indicator Tracking Tool). The inSupply team will continue to support the county teams towards realizing the timelines identified in the transition plans.
In October 2016, Barbara Lamphere, Gregory Roche, Harrison Mariki, and Wambui Waithaka supported a quantification training of reproductive health (RH) commodity security advisors from Eastern and Southern Africa country offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was one of the two trainings that JSI conducted for UNFPA country pr
ogram officers; the other training was conducted in Dakar, Senegal for French speaking countries.
The main goal of the five day workshop was to build the participants’ capacity on quantification and supply chain strengthening processes so that they in turn can fully support their government counterparts in ensuring commodity security in their countries. The sessions covered topics such as logistics review, forecasting methodologies, and how to reconcile the various forecasts to come up with final estimated requirements. There were also sessions on supply planning, pipeline monitoring, documentation and presentation of quantification results, and how to fill in the gaps. Lastly, the participants were taken through the various global coordination mechanisms regarding RH commodity security and supply chain strengthening approaches and innovations from around the world.
The workshop was interactive with minimal lecturettes and the majority of time was spent doing small group work and plenary discussion. This methodology enabled participants to learn from each other on successes and challenges and pick best practices that they could implement in their own countries. There were 23 participants in total; 21 from country offices and 2 from the East and Southern Africa Regional Office.
The overall feedback from participants was positive. Most felt that the training was timely and they are now ready to offer support to their own country quantifications going forward. They also appreciated a chance to get to know their other colleagues and learn from them.
“This was a very good learning process for RHCS managers as it has provided more insight as to how we can better support government and partners in quantification and strengthening supply chain” – one participant
“The workshop was very fruitful and I suggest for it to be done periodically. It has added much value to my experience and hope that it will have a multiplying effect when I share with my colleagues back home” – one participant
As a facilitator, I also learned tremendously from this workshop; from the preparation phase on planning the workshop, studying the curriculum in preparation to facilitate, and also during the training itself. I gained practical knowledge on how to facilitate sessions and discussions, how to communicate effectively, and made new friends and colleagues in the whole process!
UNFPA was pleased with the quantification workshop overall and this may lead to future support and collaborations with JSI.
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.”