The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have restarted the ‘Supply Chain Management’ program, which is geared toward the procurement, storage and distribution of critical medicines in five counties.
The program, known as ‘Reproduction Health Commodity Security,’ was initially launched in April 2014 with the training of 50 Liberians, but was interrupted in July by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Knowing that medicines play an important role in public health care programs, saving lives and drawing people to health facilities, however most public health care programs supply drugs through internal, antiquated and complex supply chains and as a result, critical drugs are not available when patients need them.
These factors, when combined, mean that public health care programs face a massive struggle in providing patients with consistent flow of medicines, while keeping costs down and maintaining a high level of service.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberian government, Deputy Youth Development Minister Saah N’Tow said the resumption of the program is aimed at saving lives by making access to medicines a dominant issue, and developing the career of Liberian youths.
The program was held at the Liberia Baptist Theology Seminary, March 20, during a two-day reflection and retreat for 50 RCHS National Youth Volunteers under the theme: “Reproduction Health Commodity Must Be Available at all Times.”
According to Minister N’Tow the RCHS 50 volunteers signed a 10 month contract with the Liberian government and the UNFPA, from March to December 2015.
“We want you to go out there and work exemplarily despite the challenges. Your hard work will improve service levels in the drug supply chain,” Deputy Minister N’Tow admonished.
He added: “The goals of this strategy are fairly general and relate to four issues: access, quality, rational use of drugs and career development – and for example, two goals might be to make essential medicines available and affordable to those who need them.
However, Mr. Brian Kironde, the International Program Specialist for the UNFPA expressed disappointment in the poor health system of the country, disclosing that for out of three teenage girls, one gets pregnant and out of every 100,000 expectant mothers who go to the delivery room, more than 1000 of them die.
Mr. Kironde said the availability and affordable of essential drugs would help reduce the mortality rate in the country which motivated UNFPA to be a partner of the Supply Chain Management in five counties.
Mr. Kironde encouraged the volunteers to develop themselves into professionals of the supply chain, and said they must not be reactive but proactive as well as evaluate their action.
The Planning Assistant of the Supply Change Management Unit of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Abraham Washington, who was also a facilitator, said Supply Chain Management is a challenge, but looked hopeful with the introduction of the volunteers.
Volunteer Nathaline M. Bono, on behalf of her colleagues thanked the Liberian government and the UNFPA.
"We’re optimistic that this program will be nonstop till it achieves the target and objective," Madam Bono said.
The Assistant Minister for Youth Development, Teekor Y. Yorlay, admonished the volunteers to take their services seriously not only to save lives, but also build their own lives.
According to the contract, each volunteer is expected to receive US$2,500 for 10 months.