September 08


Silence means consent

This week I spent 3 days outside Kigali. No, not a holiday 😉 I attended a workshop which aim was to develop National Pharmaceutical supply chain strategic plan. Unfortunately due to other priorities I could not attend all sessions but being there for 3 out 5 days for someone who was not even officially invited was good enough. 😉

The workshop was organized in cooperation with Ministry of Health and its main objective was to build a plan for improving capability and performance of pharmaceutical supply chain in Rwanda. As it was about the entire SC, therefore representatives from all functions were invited. Members of MOH, other central units and pharmacists from few districts gathered together to review the current state and make recommendations for the future. As the facilitator reminded at the very beginning: “Silence means consent” everybody kept their eyes and ears open in order not to miss anything.

On Monday we started with a briefing on Integrated Supply Chain Framework and the journey from an ad hoc to an integrated supply chain. Does integrated SC sound familiar to some of you? 😉

Later we had a chance to see the highlights of the current state of Rwandan SC, its’ capability and performance. This, I admit, was very informative for such outsider like me but also it must have been very interesting for others in the room because it prompted some discussion and valid comments. What’s very important it was a good base for the afternoon session: identifying issues and gaps at all levels. We split into small groups focusing on different areas of SC:

–          Product selection

–          Forecasting and SC planning

–          Procurement

–          Warehouse and inventory Management

–          Transportation

–          Dispensing

–          Waste Management

–          SC Monitoring and evaluation

For obvious reasons I joined Forecasting and Supply planning group, where we also covered LMIS (Logistics Management and Information System… I think… Every day I learn a couple of new abbreviations. I feel I have never left ESC Hub.) Our task was to identify areas for improvements… Don’t worry, I’m not going into details, besides what was discussed has to remain confidential. I just want to say that I was impressed with people’s contribution. They know what they are doing individually; they can point the gaps in processes; they have many good ideas. However sometimes they may not necessarily fully understand what they colleagues in other areas are doing or what actually one can get from another. Having representatives from all functions was therefore crucial for increasing common understanding and improving their cooperation.

I must say I felt privileged to be there too. I didn’t get an official invitation from the organizers but hey, here you can always bring friends and colleagues along with you to a party. 😉 In this case I was invited by Marketing and Distribution Director from MPPD to go there as he believed I would contribute to the discussions. I was supposed to attend 2 days but apparently the team I was working with was happy with my input and asked me to join them the following day for defining recommendations and main intervention areas.

And now I’m looking forward to tomorrow to hear how the other sessions went and later to seeing some of our recommendation being implemented.