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“Strengthening Fleet Management in Medical Supply Chain in Ethiopia”

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Through a supply chain management capacity building programme led by Pamela Steele Associates (PSA), Fleet Forum signed up to develop the fleet management skills of Distribution & Fleet managers of Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Chain agency (EPSA).

EPSA plays a key role in ensuring supply of quality assured pharmaceuticals to health facilities at affordable price in Ethiopia. Robust inventory management, fleet and distribution are therefore essentials competencies.

Fleet management was recognised as key enabler of EPSA’s mission by the leadership of the agency; without professional fleet management:

  • Trucks are not maintained on time, break down frequently and are not avialable to supply critical medical goods;

  • There is ad-hoc scheduling of movements, leading to delayed deliveries;

  • Costs are not controlled, leading to unnecessary expenditure of precious resources.

In 2020, despite Covid-19 travel restrictions and nationwide internet black-outs, 40 staff members participated in the Fleet Management Fundamentals training in a virtual format. More than half of the participants secured their first certificate.

Since then, different staff members have gone on to apply what they learnt in the training. We will share a few examples with you below.

Zerihun Sisay, DFMD Officer in EPSA Centre

Zerihun has been calculating the weight and volume of all goods. Once he has finalized this, he will enter it in EPSA’s ordering system so that when people order, they can allocate the right quantity and types of vehicles to transport critical medical supplies.

Prior to the training, the team was just guessing; they did not have appropriate vehicles for the expected load etc. By calculating the weight and volume of all goods, Zerihun is hoping to select the right size vehicle without guessing and thus impact truck fill, utilisation and ultimately better program delivery. He is also hoping they will be able to plan to combine shipments. Although he is doing this work with his team, this exercise will bring benefits all 17 hubs of EPSA.

Assfaw Chekole, Distribution Coordinator in Bahir Dar hub

Assfaw has started to analyse the delivery times. They identified a baseline of 80% on time delivery / 58% direct delivery expansion.

After identifying the baseline, they have been taking actions to improve this. At the start of December, they reported 95% on time delivery time and 88% direct delivery expansion on 394 health facility. The next step is to make sure that the results are sustainable and align this to the KPIs.

Dilu Hailemariam, Distribution Coordinator in Arbaminch hub

Dilu has measured the on-time delivery of program drugs and vaccine. In October, the on- time delivery was 70%; in November and December there has been an increase of 85%, and 100% respectively.

Dilu was able to make such improvements through the following actions:

  • Developing good reporting schedule and distribution plan and communicating it to regional, zonal and woreda HOs.

  • Monthly pre-notifying zonal logistics officer's before the day.

  • Monthly monitoring their report quality and giving feedback to them.

  • Informing the logistics officers when leaving the branch.

  • In poor reporting zones, making strong direct communication with the Branch Manager and checking with them.

Professionaling Fleet Management Across the Organisation

Both PSA and EPSA leadership have recognised their staff for taking the training investment seriously. They have noted a shift in more evidence-based presentations from middle managers and improvement in data capturing and analysis.

In addition, EPSA leadership is setting up intiatives to transform the fleet management,. These initiatives include the establishment of fleet policy, setting up a framework agreement for vehicle maintenance and optimising the use of vehicle tracking and fleet management system for informed decision-making.

EPSA leadership is also using the enthusiastic response of participants, to extract good practices and apply these to future trainings in EPSA.

What’s Next?

With the guidance of PSA staff, Fleet Forum is facilitating monthly peer sessions to support EPSA in the implementation of fleet management principles. Staff who demonstrate fleet management implementation will receive a CILT-recognised Certificate of Achievement, valued at 65 of continuous professional development. These staff members will be invited to Fleet Management Pro training in the first half of 2021.



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