It is an honor to represent the United States Government at this special event to recognize the work of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) project. This collaboration represents another successful partnership in the 50-year relationship between our two countries, the United States of America and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
The U.S. Government, through USAID and funded by the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), launched a global SCMS project in 2005 to provide a reliable, cost-effective, and secure supply of products for HIV/AIDS. The ultimate goal of the project was to ensure universal access to treatment for persons living with HIV and AIDS.
The SCMS Guyana office was the first project office established in May 2006. At that time, the Government of Guyana committed to providing universal access to antiretroviral medicines for all Guyanese living with HIV and AIDS. We are happy that we were able to support the Ministry of Public Health in developing the systems and technical skills of the staff to deliver an effective service. Through SCMS, the Ministry received approximately $26.2 million in assistance to strengthen its supply chain and staff development to ensure the availability of antiretroviral medicines and other key HIV/AIDS health commodities.
After ten years of investing in public health supply chain management, enormous progress has been made. This venue, the Supply Chain Management Complex, was constructed through joint collaboration with the Global Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USAID, and Guyana’s Ministry of Public Health. The construction of this facility provided the required conditions for the storage and distribution of all health commodities, including HIV/AIDS medicines. It now serves as the main procurement and distribution point for all public-sector health commodities.
The physical structure alone was not sufficient. The project revisited the organizational structure of the warehouse, defined departments and sub-departments, roles and responsibilities, reporting, and communication lines for the effective functioning of the facility.
Significant capacity development efforts resulted in the training of over 1,000 staff members to improve management, planning, procurement, and distribution of all pharmaceuticals in Guyana.
Working with the Ministry, the SCMS project, developed computerized systems for requesting, tracking, storing, and distributing all the Ministry of Public Health’s drugs and supplies. This system has the ability to track every product and transaction from the time the product is received at the warehouse to the time it is sent to a health facility, replacing the manual and labor intensive paper and excel-based systems.
Forecasting and supply planning were standardized and electronic tools introduced to better inform resource allocation and allow for timely ordering of products. In addition, an integrated national supply plan for HIV medication and test kits was developed for different donors and programs, resulting in a coordinated procurement process among donors.
SCMS focused on saving lives by aggressively scaling up treatment access. At the end of 2015, over 4,500 persons were treated with lifesaving antiretroviral drugs procured through the project. The project has contributed to improved treatment outcomes due to the uninterrupted and safe supply of medicines, resulting in over an 80% treatment retention rate. Moreover, the SCMS Global project negotiated a dramatic drop in the cost of drugs to treat a single HIV/AIDS patient to approximately $110 per year.
Other key achievements include:
- the establishment of a Logistics Management Unit and Logistics Management Information System;
- the development and implementation of the second edition of the Standard Treatment Guidelines for Primary Health Care;
- the National Procurement Oversight Committee, within the Health Ministry, and, the joint donors’ group that allowed the Ministry to effectively coordinate the support from the various donors and partners particularly as it relates to support for the ARVS.
I urge the Ministry of Public Health to continue to invest in these critical areas to ensure the sustainability of gains achieved over the past ten years and improve the health and lives of the people of Guyana.
We look forward to continued collaboration with the Government of Guyana, as Guyana moves toward implementing the WHO “Test and Treat” recommendation – that is, treating all HIV positive persons upon diagnosis.
There is much more that can be said about our joint work in Guyana, but I will stop here. You will see more first hand during the tour of this facility.
I want to congratulate all those who contributed to the success of the SCMS project over the past ten years. I challenge you to continue to build on this momentum and make positive changes that will ultimately benefit your families, communities, and country.