Fast, Reliable, Consistent
How access to high-quality data is dramatically improving Ghana’s commodity quantification processes
The VAN has made it quick and easy for stakeholders in Ghana to access high-quality family planning supply data, which, in turn, is simplifying and improving national quantification exercises.
Quantification is a crucial supply chain activity that allows countries to predict commodity needs, their cost, and appropriate times of delivery.
Decision-makers rely on accurate quantification to ensure continuous availability of adequate commodities to serve clients with their product of choice, when and where they need them.
In Ghana, quantifications are conducted annually and reviewed every six months by the Reproductive Health Quantification Subcommittee, with representatives from the Ministry of Health, donor agencies, social marketing organizations, the private sector, and other implementing partners. It is a step-by-step approach which includes preparation, forecasting and supply planning. Forecasting estimates demand over a specified period, say 3 to 5 years. An output of the forecast is the supply plan which estimates the quantities and cost of each product needed to meet the expected demand as well as their expected times of arrival. The final output of the entire quantification exercise is the funding gap analysis which helps programs advocate additional resources for identified commodity gaps and maximize use of available resources to ensure commodity availability.
After quantification, programs use the supply plan to monitor partner commitments, inform timely financing and procurement, and determine manufacturer production cycles, supplier shipment and delivery schedules. Data on all incoming shipments must be captured to build up an accurate picture of the supply plan and to help determine the additional commodities which require funding. In Ghana, in the past, these data were usually provided piecemeal as Excel spreadsheets from UNFPA, USAID GHSC-PSM, the Procurement and Supply Directorate of the Ministry of Health, and social marketing organizations. Since data was fragmented across different procuring agencies, the process of gathering it was tedious and involved a high level of manual work to collect and collate. There were also delays in data submission, missing data, probability of keying in the wrong data among many other issues.
However, all this has changed dramatically with the advent of the VAN. Ghana got a taste of things to come in its March 2022 quantification exercise using data from the VAN. In a single view, the Multi Collab function of the VAN provided the team with all information regarding incoming shipments. The team could also click on a particular commodity to assess details on funders and estimated times of arrival of the commodities. The team quickly captured this information with ease. This level of detailed visibility far out-performed the manual system of collecting fragmented sources of data from partners.
Stakeholders are highly satisfied. “Quantification is much easier and faster now that we have the VAN. Data can now be found in one central location which can be visible and accessible. Our days of waiting for the information to be sent are over. The VAN provides reliable, consistent source of critical shipment information from multiple partners which ensures effective supply planning. We can also track shipments all year round and assess their impact on stocks, enabling us to take data-based decisions quickly and with great confidence,” says Claudette Diogo, the Logistics and Supply Manager from the Family Health Division, Ghana Health Service, and the VAN Country Planner.
“Our days of waiting for the information to be sent are over.”
Similar appreciation was also shared by social marketing programs. The warehouse manager for MSI Ghana is thrilled. “Before coming for the quantification, we were not aware of all shipments being received in country for our program. With the VAN, we are now privy to all incoming shipments, quantities, and their respective times of arrival. This level of transparency is a breath of fresh air. The VAN has indeed made supply planning simpler, faster and easier.
“The level of transparency is a breath of fresh air.”
For more information, please contact Afua Aggrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.