Glob Health Sci Pract 2014 May 13;2(2):245-52. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-13-00171. eCollection 2014

Informed push distribution of contraceptives in Senegal reduces stockouts and improves quality of family planning services

Daff BM, Seck C, Belkhayat H and Sutton P

Abstract

Contraceptive use in Senegal is among the lowest in the world and has barely increased over the past 5 years, from 10% of married women in 2005 to 12% in 2011. Contraceptive stockouts in public facilities, where 85% of women access family planning services, are common. In 2011, we conducted a supply chain study of 33 public-sector facilities in Pikine and Guediawaye districts of the Dakar region to understand the magnitude and root causes of stockouts. The study included stock audits, surveys with 156 consumers, and interviews with facility staff, managers, and other stakeholders. At the facility level, stockouts of injectables and implants occurred, on average, 43% and 83% of the year, respectively. At least 60% of stockouts occurred despite stock availability at the national level. Data from interviews revealed that the current "pull-based" distribution system was complex and inefficient. In order to reduce stockout rates to the commercial-sector standard of 2% or less, the Government of Senegal and the Senegal Urban Reproductive Health Initiative developed the informed push distribution model (IPM) and pilot-tested it in Pikine district between February 2012 and July 2012. IPM brings the source of supply (a delivery truck loaded with supplies) closer to the source of demand (clients in health facilities) and streamlines the steps in between. With a professional logistician managing stock and deliveries, the health facilities no longer need to place and pick up orders. Stockouts of contraceptive pills, injectables, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) were completely eliminated at the 14 public health facilities in Pikine over the 6-month pilot phase. The government expanded IPM to all 140 public facilities in the Dakar region, and 6 months later stockout rates throughout the region dropped to less than 2%. National coverage of the IPM is expected by July 2015.

Comment: Among health care providers, supply chain managers and public health procurers there is often discussion about the value of pull- vs. push distribution. Although there pros and cons on both sides, this paper shows that a well organized system of push distribution can dramatically decrease stock outs and increase contraceptive use. (HMV)