Distribution Mechanism for Reproductive Health commodities

Access Global Ltd supports strengthening of the Alternative Distribution Mechanism for Reproductive Health commodities in Uganda


The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Uganda is implementing an Alternative Distribution Strategy (ADS) for Family Planning (FP) and selected Reproductive Health (RH) commodities to address weaknesses in distribution of contraceptives. Under a Public Private Partnerships (PPP), MOH distributes public commodities through the private sector which was by 2012 not being supplied because the National Medical Store (NMS) stopped supplying private Implementing Partners (IPs). MoH signed an MOU with a private firm the Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) to distribute the products to IPs and private health facilities.

What we did

We were contracted by UNFPA to evaluate the strategy and support the Uganda MOH in strengthening the innovative distribution mechanism. Based on the evaluation findings, we supported the Ministry of Health to develop a new strategy and implementation guideline for the period 2016-2020.

Key Findings

Alternative distribution in Uganda ensures that commodities reach the lowest levels, and provides flexibility in ordering and receipt of commodities. The strategy provides a buffer to the public distribution system with a deserving focus on RH commodities. However, the strategy heavily relies on the private sector which levies a service fee, and does not operate in some areas thereby undermining equity. Uptake of FP increased by an average of 53%. However, stock outs were still more common in the private sector compared to the public sector. The strategy averted expiry of RH commodities and reduced RH commodity handling fees through utilization of private sector services.

Potential economic impact

A total of 11,533,644 Couple Years of Protection (CYPs) were achieved by the entire country translating into 6,590,658 pregnancies averted; 108,136 maternal deaths averted; and 2,844,381 DALYs gained. Overall, the country potentially saved 951,553,889 USD.

Lessons Learned

Provision of public commodities through the private sector increases uptake of FP and subsidizes prices thereby encouraging users to switch to the private sector, which could be more sustainable and contribute to TMA.

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