Posted by Mike Culligan, LINGOs Director of Content & Impact
Imagine you are managing a health program in a remote community. Everything is going great! You have an outstanding team of health professionals. They have collected extensive data on health practices and have identified priority areas of intervention. The team has developed a great project plan. And the community is excited to work with the project.
Photo Credit: Arturo Sanabria, JSI
In Zambia, a nurse explains how to take artemether-lumefantrine for malaria treatment.
Then you realize that the project is running low on medicines for the health facilities you manage. New supplies will not arrive for at least three months. And project activities are grinding to a halt. What would you do?
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it does to me – because it happened with a project I managed. As a new project manager, my attention was so focused on the health-technical elements of the project, that I had overlooked the critical importance of program logistics.
Quickly I realized that successful health programs must ensure that medicines, supplies and equipment are available at health facilities. If products are not available when they are needed and where they are needed, not only does the project team suffer, but clients suffer any number of consequences—including malnutrition, unplanned pregnancies, spread of diseases, and even death.
These challenges underscore the complexity of the work of health programming staff around the world. Not only must they understand the complexities of public health, preventive health and curative health, but these same personnel need to have a basic understanding of health commodity management, and competency in the procedures specific to the logistics management systems through which they receive their supplies.
And yet, while the work of health program logistics becomes increasingly complex, the challenge of training large number of health workers in classroom settings is becoming more and more difficult as funding for large scale training efforts becomes less available, and managers are more reluctant to send service providers and storekeepers away from their jobs to attend training courses.
Recognizing this challenge, the USAID | Deliver project has developed eight interactive e-learning sessions in basic logistics management. These include the following course titles:
• Introduction to Logistics
• Logistics Management Information Systems
• Assessing Stock Status
• Maximum-Minimum Inventory Controls Systems
• Selecting Maximum-Minimum Inventory Controls Systems
• Storage of Health Commodities
• Assessing Logistics Systems
• Quantification of Health Commodities
Now, through the generous support of USAID|Deliver and its Partner, John Snow, Inc., these courses are available to LINGOs member agencies.
Level 2/Enterprise LINGOs member agencies interested in providing staff access to these titles should have the agency’s designated LMS Administrator contact firstname.lastname@example.org and identify which course titles from the USAID|Deliver library the agency would like to add to its LMS sub-portal. The courses are available on the Level 1 shared portal.