Supply chain solutions to improve the distribution of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to clinics in rural areas: A case study of the QwaQwa district
This article serves as a case study based on research that was performed in the QwaQwa district in the Free State Province where the distribution of ARVs to the regional Manapo hospital, as well as between the hospital and its peripheral clinics, was interrupted and inconsistent due to problems in the supply chain. An unreliable and interrupted ARV supply chain creates the risk of virus reactivation and eventual patient mortality.
The objectives of the study were to explore the problems experienced with the ARV distribution practices at the Manapo hospital, and to recommend ways in which the distribution of ARVs can be improved so that patients can receive an uninterrupted supply. The nature of the topic researched dictated the use of mainly the quantitative research method.
The main problems identified include: Wrong and no uniform practice of ordering stock by the hospital and the clinics; lack of reliable, structured transportation from the depot to the hospital; as well as poor inventory management and poor overall communication. Recommendations to address the problems include: Implementing a supply chain planning and design process; improving inventory management and warehousing practices; implementing more effective and reliable distribution and transportation processes; as well as improving supply chain coordination and overall communication.
Keywords: ARV distribution, Fixed order quantity policy, Inventory management
Supply chain management, Warehousing practice
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