UNDP Hands-over Three Trucks to MSL to Bolster Delivery of Medical Supplies Throughout Zambia

27 May 2013

imageDr. Gardner Siakantu happily displays the keys of the trucks after receiving them from UNDP Country Director, Viola Morgan

Medical Stores Limited (MSL) got a major boost to its supply chain management when it received three trucks worth more than US$427,000 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The 15-tonne Hino trucks which were procured through the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) Round 8 HIV grant are meant to strengthen the delivery of medicines and medical supplies to health facilities throughout Zambia.

The trucks were officially handed over on 27th May 2013 at a ceremony held at the premises of the MLS in Lusaka by the UNDP Country Director, Mrs. Viola Morgan. The function was attended by the Project Manager of GFATM, Dr. Blaise Karibushi and the Acting Managing Director of MSL, Annie Zulu as well as some staffers of the Ministry of Health and MSL.

Receiving the trucks on behalf of the Zambian government and MSL, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Gardner Siakantu expressed gratitude to the UNDP for the gesture and said the trucks would improve the company’s capacity to distribute medicines and medical supplies that would ultimately address the issue of drug shortages in health facilities countrywide. He also said the donation would enable the MSL undertake major capital expenditure critical to the effective operations of the organisation.

“Medical Stores Limited has been facing challenges in acquiring adequate delivery trucks to help in the distribution of the medicines. The delivery trucks we are receiving today will greatly help in alleviating these challenges,” Dr. Siakantu said.

Dr. Siakantu disclosed that the current delivery fleet status at MSL stands at 15 trucks against the required number of 20 trucks that are needed for the institution to operate effectively and satisfy demand that has increased so rapidly nationwide.

“The trucks being donated today will also greatly contribute to the improvement of the existing distribution fleet at MSL,” Dr. Siakantu said, adding that two or more delivery trucks were still needed in order to meet the shortfall.

On average, MSL makes eleven scheduled deliveries of medicines and medical supplies throughout the country on a weekly basis. Additionally, two extra deliveries are made and this therefore requires a minimum of 15-tonne trucks available each week to effectively carry out the deliveries.

According to Dr. Siakantu, MSL was preparing for the full “last mile” distribution system in which it delivered health products and services right to the last district depots and centres and therefore needs the support of cooperating partners to procure both light and heavy duty vehicles in the year 2014 and beyond.

Earlier, while handing over the trucks, UNDP Country Director, Viola Morgan said the gesture was in response to the challenges of an unpredictable supply chain management system at MSL.

Mrs. Morgan believes the UNDP’s support would assist the Ministry of Health through MSL to provide a total package for supply chain management services and streamline the distribution of medicines and eliminate stock outs in health facilities.

“Furthermore, UNDP which is managing the GFATM grants on behalf of the Ministry of Health, would under the Round 8 HIV grant provide equipment worth US$529, 000 to the MSL in the form of furniture and computer equipment to support a strong and reliable logistics management information system to boost sustainable commodity supply chain,” Morgan said. 

The UNDP Country Director believes that as MSL has moved from being a storage and distribution point to distributing drugs and supplies right up to district depots and clinics, the trucks would boost the current fleet and ease some of the problems of transport.

“Under the phase two consolidated Round 8 and Round 10 HIV grants, there is a planned support for the setting up of a hub with a provisional budget of US$400, 000 for motor vehicles, forklifts, computer equipment, a generator and security cameras,” she disclosed.

Mrs. Morgan said there is also a planned capacity assessment and support for MSL under the consolidated grants to elaborate further on the requirements of the organisation, particularly in setting up a fully-fledged procurement department and related activities planned for the first quarter of 2014.