Online Program

Developing an effective inventory management system for a NGO medical mission

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

GW Douglas, MS, MPH, Evidence-based Practice Center/Department of Surgery/Division of Community Health Sciences/Department of Health Systems Science, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association/UIC College of Medicine/School of Public Health/College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Meghana V. Aruru, PhD, MBA., BPharm, Department of Clinical, Administrative and Social Sciences, Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy, Schaumburg, IL
Jack Warren Salmon, PhD, Health Policy and Administration, University Of Illinois-Chicago, River Forest, IL
Sue Walsh, BSN, MS, CPNP, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Leslie Cordes, MD, FAAP, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Introduction: Medical Mission Trips operating health facilities in remote, underserved areas are dependent on healthcare professional teams to deliver care and medical supplies. Lack of resources, supplies, qualified personnel etc. create formidable logistical challenges in coordinating the supply and maintenance of necessary drugs, laboratory supplies, and durable medical goods required by visiting teams. Inadequate management of critical medical inventory may result in unavailability of indicated therapy, lower sensitivity of diagnoses, and general disruption of care. There is little discussion in literature about effectively managing inventory in under-developed countries. Therefore, we explored the challenges inherent to inventory management in a resource poor country with strategies to establish an inventory system to reduce waste, spoilage and duplication. Study Methods: This study involved literature review of existing pharmacy inventory management systems, Assessment of various systems for usability in Haiti and Adoption of a sustainable system. Results and Discussion: Little By Little, a nonprofit organization has provided basic healthcare and humanitarian services in Gramothe, Haiti since 2006. Since then, the organization has grown and many teams visit the village several times a year. In resource poor Haiti, our challenge was to implement a system that would help teams effectively manage their inventory. After looking at several, fairly expensive pharmacy inventory management systems in the US, we selected a relatively low-cost solution workable in Haiti. This study describes the system that was assessed to be the best fit for our needs and offers strategies useful for developing cost-appropriate, sustainable inventory solutions in resource poor Haiti.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Describe the challenges involved in carrying pharmacy inventory for a medical mission trip Identify pharmacy inventory systems for medical mission trips Assess a low cost inventory management system used

Keyword(s): Developing Countries, Challenges and Opportunities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician with experience on several NGO medical mission teams. Realizing the need for improved coordination and communication in the NGO medical mission setting, I was involved at the inception of the inventory management system described in this abstract and integral in its development.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.