Guyana Takes Control of New Health Commodities Supply Chain

U.S. and Ghana officials tour new warehouse.
From left, USAID-SCMS consultant Richard Miller, Health Minister Bheri Ramsaran, U.S. Ambassador D. Brent Hardt, Guyana Prime Minister Sam Hinds, and Deputy Prime Minister Bishop Edghill tour the new warehouse.
Drugs, test kits benefit people living with HIV and AIDS
The supply chain will be "a sustainable, country-owned, high-performing enterprise."

Guyana, a small country in the Caribbean, now benefits from a 21st century supply chain that provides health commodities, including safe and effective antiretroviral drugs for Guyanese who are living with HIV, and reliable kits to test those at risk.

The new supply chain was made possible by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s Supply Chain Management System, which is managed by USAID.

Guyana’s multifaceted and multisectoral response to HIV and AIDS, which includes this up-to-date supply chain, has made a valuable impact. In the past, there were poor warehousing conditions for ensuring that patients received safe and effective medications and other health commodities.

“The result has been a steady decrease in infections over the years,” said Dr. Shanti Singh, head of the National AIDS Program at the Ministry of Health. “And, for those patients who are infected, we provide uninterrupted access to care, support and to the life-saving medicines they need to live healthy, productive lives.”

The Government of Guyana is scheduled to assume full ownership of the supply chain and full responsibility for managing it by September 2015. The supply chain will be, as Dr. Singh put it, “a sustainable, country-owned, high-performing enterprise.”

USAID’s implementing partner, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PfSCM), began work in Guyana in 2006. PfSCM initially worked with the Ministry of Health to build what is now a crucial link in the chain: the capacity to accurately forecast demand for a wide range of health commodities, including those vital to the diagnosis or treatment of HIV.

PfSCM and the Ministry of Health also transformed an existing link in the supply chain, the warehousing link, since the existing facility could not ensure the necessary temperatures and conditions for storage of health commodities.

With PfSCM’s support, a different building was used as a temporary warehouse, while a new and permanent warehouse was constructed. The Government of Guyana began to assume ownership of the supply chain by donating land for the new facility, creating a road to serve it, building a parking lot, and supplying eventual staff. Other donors also contributed money and resources.

The result of this joint effort is a nearly 27,000 square meter, state-of-the-art facility that is well-staffed and temperature-controlled with excellent ventilation. It is also equipped with forklifts, a security system and delivery trucks.

When the facility opened on March 8, 2013, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby wrote that: “This warehouse is a significant step forward on [the] path [to creating an AIDS-free generation], and toward building Guyana’s world-class pharmaceutical-grade operation."