Introduction to Health Supply Chains
Access to essential medicines at affordable prices is one of today's great challenges in low- and middle-income countries. It was recognized as such in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is now part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2015 UN report summarizing progress on the targets estimated the availability of generic drugs in low- and middle-income countries at an average of 58% in public health centers and 67% in private pharmacies.
Still, availability isn't the only challenge. Many of the quality and safety problems in the field of public health are due to mismanagement of the supply chain. However, medications are expensive. Globally, it is estimated that 25% of the health budget is allocated to medicines. In countries with fewer resources, this amount rises to 30%.
Understanding the drug supply chain from start to finish, and having practical capabilities to improve its performance, are today essential faculties for a large number of professionals at all levels of the health system. They are also required for many managers of health programs that contain a supply item. This course, which covers all the steps of the medicine supply chain and gives an introduction to its most important managerial functions (such as quality assurance and monitoring and evaluation) is intended to do this. Furthermore, it places special emphasis on the integration between supply activities and the global strengthening of the health system.
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