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AWLN member Dr. Hanuni Sogora at Zanzibar's Central Medical Stores

AWLN member Dr. Hanuni Sogora at Zanzibar’s Central Medical Stores

Central Medical Stores in Zanzibar reduces errors in forecasting Family Planning commodity requirements at the facility level by 70% after AWLN influences re-training of RH staff.

Zanzibar’s Directorate of Medical Stores can confirm that they have reduced the incidence of errors associated with incorrect documentation of stock levels for Family Planning commodities at facility level by 70% as a result of streamlining the processes for managing stock flow from the central stores to the facilities in the districts.

This significant reduction is a direct result of AWLN’s advocacy activities over the last 10 months which focused on identifying the hiccups in the flow of commodities from the Central Medical Stores (CMS) to the facilities resulting in stock-outs and lack of access to contraceptives for women and young people in the 10 districts of Zanzibar.

Customer care officers of the CMS, told us that for the past 21 years, the staff of the CMS had not received any acknowledgement for the efforts they put into ensuring adequate supply of commodities to consumers. Instead, they had been vilified for allowing stocks to remain in the store until they had to be disposed of due to expiry. According to them prior to the assessment conducted by AWLN in 2014, they had frequently experienced long periods of stock-outs of FP commodities at facility level resulting in women and girls in the districts losing interest in using contraception. This had contributed to a low CPR in most of the districts in Zanzibar.

The assessment by AWLN revealed that Reproductive Health (RH) officers at the facility level responsible for completing documentation (which provided information on the levels of stock at the district and facility levels) were not providing accurate information on the real situation of stock requirements. This had created an artificial shortage at the facility level whiles creating a backlog of supplies sitting in the medical stores.

On presentation of the evidence of the AWLN assessment, the Director of Medical stores directed that all RH and FP staff in the two districts of Unguja North and Pemba North be re-trained on how to complete the necessary documentation appropriately. 20 staff were trained in October 2014.

A follow up by AWLN shows that beyond the training of the RH/FP staff in the targeted districts, the DMS further directed that the training be scaled up to include all RH/FP staff in the other 8 districts of Zanzibar to also receive training on the proper provision of FP commodity forecasting. Consequently 66 staff have been trained. This number represents all RH/FP staff working in the Ministry of Health in all 10 districts in Zanzibar. By this, AWLN’s advocacy has resulted in a retraining for all RH and FP staff in the entire state. The staff trained are now familiar with and are using the newly installed integrated logistics systems (ZILS) to make more accurate scheduling of stock replenishment at district level.

At the facility level however, challenges still exist. Even though the staff have been trained on the use of the electronic systems, challenges of lack of equipment and internet connectivity have made it impossible for them to implement the skills they have acquired. As a result they are still using manual systems of entry. AWLN members are hopeful that the Ministry will soon find a way of rectifying this to enable the staff work more efficiently.

AWLN’s advocacy strategy involved working in a coalition made up of the Zanzibar Nurses Association, the Ministry of Women and Children, Zanzibar Aids Commission (ZAC), CSO’s such as UMATI (IPPF MA), Marie Stopes, ANGOZA, ZANGOC, and Youth Advisory Panel (YAP).

AWLN members are currently working on a strategy to rebuild the confidence of FP clients by encouraging them to access family planning services. This is being done through outreach programmes to the districts and communities in Zanzibar. 

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