How We Can Promote Equity and Inclusion in the Health Supply Chain

October 25th, 2023 | Viewpoint


Historically, supply chains that deliver medicines in low- and middle-income countries have been organized to mirror the administrative structures of health systems. Often, government priorities serve the highest number of people to achieve public health goals. As inequities within populations grew, health systems did not always evolve to identify and meet the specific needs of typically underserved groups, including people of different genders, ages, abilities, races, religions, and origins. Similarly, supply chains have not adapted to the unique requirements of these groups, nor have systems collected disaggregated data to highlight the challenges and needs of these different groups to find solutions. This has contributed to and reinforced health system inequities.

JSI applies three key approaches to ensure more equitable and inclusive supply chains:

Build an equitable and inclusive workforce that promotes the active leadership and participation of people of all genders, statuses and identity who work throughout the supply chain (e.g., drivers, health workers, supply chain managers). This involves ensuring equitable recruitment, promotion, and opportunity by prioritizing inclusion and reducing barriers to participation. This could involve reconciling pay gaps for certain groups; changing norms that segregate men and women into different roles and impede women’s leadership; and establishing or strengthening workplace conditions and policies related to discrimination, safety, and harassment.

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