CASE STUDY: Finding Alternative Pathways for Contraceptive Commodities to Reach Users

In Uganda, the private sector provides the majority (60%) of contraceptive services. The ability of the private sector to meet users’ needs depends upon the strength of the public supply chain system. Until recently, private sector facilities experienced frequent stock-outs. Supply chain operations favored public sector needs, and private sector access to supplies was limited.

Beginning in 2011, with technical support from Advance Family Planning and others, family planning stakeholders came together to address the supply chain bottleneck. Together with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and donors, they developed an innovative strategy called “alternative distribution” to provide supplies more consistently and efficiently to private sector facilities. At first the system worked well, but with no formal agreement in place, by 2014 its’ future looked uncertain.

A sustained advocacy effort over a period of six months led to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Uganda and the Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) to formalize the alternative distribution strategy. The MOU is a critical step in validating roles and responsibilities to ensure the program continues, commodities remain available, and Uganda is able to meet the demand of its contraceptive users.

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