Family planning programs rely on supply chains to bring contraceptive commodities to the women and girls who want to use them. Problems at any point in the chain—from initial procurement to local distribution—can lead to empty shelves. A secure supply chain, on the other hand, means fewer stock-outs and bottlenecks, and a greater variety of products on offer when they’re needed. It means that women and girls have more choices and a more reliable source of the contraceptive products they prefer.

Supply chain strengthening is a core area of work for most FP2020 countries. It was a major theme at the Summit, with 32 FP2020 partners announcing commitments to invest in logistics systems, procurement, inventory management, supply chain design, commodity security, and last mile delivery:

  • Sierra Leone committed to establishing a National Medical Supply Agency (NMSA) and integrating family planning commodities within the national supply chain structure. The government also committed to adopting a new electronic Logistic Management and Information System, with rollout planned for January 2018.
  • Somalia committed to ensuring the continuous availability of quality family planning commodities at all levels of the pipeline, with the goal of decreasing stock-outs by 30% by 2020.
  • Togo committed to reducing contraceptive stock-outs at service delivery points by 50% between 2017 and 2022.
  • Zimbabwe committed to strengthening its supply chain management system and ensuring that 98% of its service delivery points have at least three modern methods of contraceptives available on the day of assessment.

The Summit also featured the announcement of three global goods:

GLOBAL GOOD: Global Visibility Analytics Network (VAN)

Delivering contraceptives to millions of users requires complex family planning supply chains that operate efficiently and effectively. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and DFID (through its core funding commitment to the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition) are contributing seed money to design and pilot a global Visibility Analytics Network (VAN) for reproductive health commodities. The global VAN will enable countries and partners to collaborate virtually on forecasted inventory needs and track progress against those forecasts. The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition has agreed to host the global VAN and manage its implementation, while USAID and UNFPA are providing essential human resources to design, test, and use the platform.

GLOBAL GOOD: In-country VANs

In-country VANs are the local counterparts to the global VAN, enabling country program managers to forecast and track inventory needs. A number of FP2020 countries are taking the first steps toward developing their own VANs, which will result in real-time supply chain tracking and help keep stock on the shelves in sustainable, efficient ways. When linked together, the global VAN and country VANS will provide end-to-end visibility for the entire supply chain, from product source to use.

GLOBAL GOOD: Adoption of Global Data Standards

The adoption of global standards for product identification and for the capture and exchange of supply chain data is a key enabler of the global and in-country VANs. Data standards also help to ensure patient safety (through product traceability) and lower supply chain costs (through driving efficiencies). USAID and UNFPA have worked over the past year with contraceptive manufacturers to develop a roadmap and timeline for the adoption of GS1 standards (the leading standards in the healthcare industry) in labeling contraceptive products.