Delivering Life-Saving HIV/AIDS Drugs Around the World
May 23rd, 2016 | Viewpoint
May 23rd, 2016 | Viewpoint
As the warm Haitian sun comes up, Chantal leaves her four children behind to get her HIV treatment, traveling for three hours in the back of a crowded jeep.
She bumps over unpaved roads to her monthly visit for antiretrovirals, one that she has been doing routinely for several years to keep her disease at bay.
Her children don’t know that she is HIV positive, and she doesn’t want to tell them. She makes this long trip over rough and ragged terrain to preserve her privacy and escape the possibility of stigma, still prevalent in Haitian society.
Hours later, she finally arrives at the Hôpital Immaculée Conception and waits her turn at the pharmacy to see the dispenser for her medicine. This local hospital’s pharmacy is consistently stocked with life-saving antiretroviral drugs as a result of the USAID-led Supply Chain Management System project under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“I’m confident that my medicine will be here,” says Chantal, “When I come, I always find it.”
Since 2005, the supply chain project has been procuring and delivering drugs, laboratory supplies, and reagents to hospitals and clinics like Hôpital Immaculée Conception all over the world.
With support from PEPFAR, USAID established the supply chain project to provide a reliable, cost-effective and secure supply of products for HIV/AIDS programs in PEPFAR-supported countries. The supply chain project is to-date the largest ever public health supply chain in the world and leverages the collective power of many different partnerships, both private and public, to deliver critical products to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Through this project, USAID focused on saving lives by aggressively scaling up treatment access, promoting country ownership, and investing in sustainable country health systems to make real and lasting progress toward achieving universal access to life-saving HIV and AIDS products.
For 10 years, the supply chain project has been driving improvements in public health systems. These efforts — in coordination with the efforts of many donors, partners and individuals around the world — are driving toward the ultimate goal: an AIDS-free generation.
There is no doubt the supply chain project has made an incredible impact on the lives of millions of people around the world, like Chantal. For the last decade, on behalf of the U.S Government, this project has successfully operated the largest public health supply chain in the world.
As a result, patients know their status and are getting the treatment they need. Mothers can care for children born without the virus. HIV-positive parents can go to work and provide for their families.
As the supply chain project draws to a close, a new phase of the U.S. Government’s Global Health Supply Chain Strategy begins under the procurement and Supply Management project.
Looking forward, the challenge of the Procurement and Supply Management project is to build upon the successes of the supply chain project. In an effort to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the new project will rapidly scale up prevention, treatment, and care, while harnessing innovations and efficiencies to shape best practices in supply chain management in Africa and elsewhere.
Doing so will require ongoing investments in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS, as well as continued support for national supply chains.
USAID’s vision to take advantage of supply chain innovation to make an impact on eliminating the burden of HIV and AIDS worldwide will serve as a critical foundation for achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation.
Written by Sherif Mowafy