An SCMS regional distribution center (RDC) in Centurion (Gauteng province) supplies essential HIV/AIDS drugs and other commodities to Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition a local distribution center has now been established for distributing ARVs to the provincial medical depots in South Africa.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, with 5.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Of this number, about 800,000 people are currently receiving ARV treatment. Each month, 30,000 new patients are added to treatment plans. The Government of South Africa developed the National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 50 percent and expand access to appropriate treatment, care and support to 80 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV. December 1, 2009, on World AIDS Day, the Government of South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS by announcing key changes, providing 1) ART to all people co-infected with TB/HIV at CD4 counts of 350, 2) ART to all infants under 12 months and 3) PMTCT treatment to pregnant women with CD4 counts above 350, starting at 14 weeks.
SCMS has a strong presence in South Africa with a field office in Pretoria and a RDC in Centurion (Gauteng province) which supplies essential HIV/AIDS drugs and other commodities to Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As these countries scale up their HIV/AIDS programs, the RDC can help to ensure a rapid and reliable supply of essential medicines and other products.
The US Government has assigned SCMS the responsibility of providing procurement and technical support to the South African HIV/AIDS program, bridging assistance of a total of $120 million over the next two fiscal years. The first delivery on this project arrived in South Africa’s Pharmaceutical Healthcare Distributors Local Distribution Centre in April 2010.
- Ensure quality ARV availability throughout the period of the $120 million bridging assistance.
- Provide targeted technical assistance relating to the procurement effort and longer term assistance at the national and provincial levels to strengthen ARV quantification and forecasting.
- Improve the reporting of information within provinces and into national reporting systems.
- Improve the capacity and capability of personnel involved in the supply chain management of pharmaceuticals and the improvement of provincial warehouses.
- Identify and pursue opportunities to procure drug commodities to meet scale-up requirements.
Activities and Impact
Procurement: In 2008 - 2009, SCMS responded to an emergency ARV request from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, two emergency ARV requests from the Free State Province, and ARV inquiries from the Western Cape and Mpumalanga Provinces.
Capacity building: Since May 2008, SCMS has sponsored participants from all South Africa provinces to attend the Warehouse Operations Management (WOM) four-week course which helps managers develop warehouse planning and management skills. There are plans to conduct follow-up on-the-ground support to WOM course participants and other staff at all the provincial medical depots on warehouse operations management, storage, inventory control and distribution. This support will be linked with capacity building in quantification and forecasting of ARV requirements.