Human resources for public health supply chain management in Ethiopia
Background: A health care system is judged to be functioning well, among others, when seen in light of the access it provides to affordable and quality medicines and supplies. This largely depends on the availability of competent health supply workforce.Health supply workers can become competent if and when they get the education and training needed to develop the skills required to work effectively in health supply chain in the country.
Objective: The objective of this needs assessment was to identify the need for health supply chain management trainingand map competencies of personnel working at different levels of the health supply chain in Ethiopia.
Methods: Initially, national sensitization and consensus building workshop on human resources for public health supply chain management was held in Addis Ababa.At the workshop, gaps were identified and required competencies suggested. This was followed by qualitative and quantitative surveys.
Findings: The sensitive nature ofpublic health supply seems to be increasingly recognized by policy makers and other stakeholders. This is encouraging. However, the situation of the supply chain in the countryis not as effective as desired. Issues related to human resourcewereamong themajor factors that have contributed tothe problem of the supply chain. Scarcity and lack of expertise in supply chain management were noted in the finding as the challenges often talked about. In addition, there are issues related to poor commitment and lack of motivationon the part of the personnel currently involved in the management of the supply chain.Overall, shortages in some aspects and gaps in others characterize the supply chain management. Evidence of emergency purchases has also been observed. Largely, participants had either entry level or midlevel competencies in the five major supply chain domains. The majority (i.e., 89.5%) of the participants of the study showed interest to advance their career in health supply chain management. MSc level training was one way they said this could be achieved.
Conclusion: Despite various efforts made to implement initiatives that increase the supply chain efficiencyover the past years, marked inadequacies still characterize the system. For example, stocks are observed to run out of essential medicines and supplies. Lack of timelinessin delivery of itemsis also reported. Multiple factors were identified to be held responsible for the reported deficiencies of theperformances of the supply chain system. Human resources related challenges are identified as key contributing factors to the problems.Examples reported include workersâ€™ lack of competencies required for the work. One reason claimed to have underlined this lack of competencies is the inadequate level of the training given to the workers. Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2017; 31(4):266-275]
Keywords: Human resources for health supply chain, training need, competency, Ethiopia.