Pakistan: Internships build capacity in logistics for health supplies

Abdul Qayyum (left), a USAID | DELIVER PROJECT intern, provides training on the logistics management information system to Mr. Raheel, a storekeeping from the national program in Lahore, Pakistan.
As the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT steps into its fourth year with the Government of Pakistan to achieve universal access to health commodities by strengthening health supply chains and the policy environment, a number of capacity-building measures have been adopted to help sustain the project’s interventions.

Measures include a three-credit hour course at the Health Services Academy leading to a supply chain management certification, technical assistance to provincial and regional governments on logistics and procurement manuals, and the creation of a pool of logistics champions in the public health sector through the involvement of government-based master trainers from across Pakistan.

Aligned with this multi-pronged strategy to achieve sustainability, the project’s internship program adds diversity to the capacity building efforts, moving part of it from the public to the private sector. The first batch of interns successfully completed their four-month tenure with the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT in January 2013. The internship program provides a unique opportunity for fresh graduates to obtain hands-on experience and on-the-job training to make contributions to strengthening logistics and supply chain management within the public sector.

“The internship program introduced by the project is a value addition to the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to improve supply chain and logistics data visibility and product availability at all levels. It not only contributed towards capacity building, but also development of a critical mass of logisticians. Interns provided time bound assistance to health officials at district and subdistrict levels to prevent stockouts with valuable experience gained,” said Ahmed Hanif Orakzai, Secretary of Population Welfare in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The first cohort of USAID | DELIVER PROJECT interns with Shyam Lama, regional director; Dr. Muhammad Tariq, country director; and Inamullah Khan, LMIS advisor of the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT in Pakistan.

The interns were recruited nationwide and placed in provincial capitals to work with departments of health and population welfare, under close supervision of the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT’s provincial logistics managers. The program enhanced the skills and knowledge of the interns, and strengthened their commitment to a career in supply chain management. During their tenure, these young supply chain interns contributed to improvements in the public health systems in many ways:
  • Enhancing data visibility by assisting logistics management information system (LMIS) operators at the district level to achieve increased and regular reporting in the LMIS.
  • Conducting field visits to verify stock availability using LMIS data, and to monitor distribution from districts to facilities.
  • Assisting stakeholders with adoption of integrated requisitioning on a quarterly basis.
  •  Monitoring commodity distribution plans and related transportation of commodities from the Central Warehouse to districts and assisting with contraceptive forecasts and procurement tables.
  • Participating in consultative processes with provincial and regional governments.

Senior public health officials highly appreciated the internship program, which provides motivation for young graduates to pursue further studies in the supply chain management field and adopt it as a career.