Field Diary – In rural areas, organization is the key word for the good running of a pharmacy. Indeed, it is through rigorous organisation that stocks are kept up to date and allow both quality and quantity control of the medicines available and precise knowledge of what needs to be ordered. This is a central task, given the challenge of delivering medicines due to the winding roads and their poor condition. Sometimes it is still necessary to place emergency orders. What are the steps in the process of ordering medication at Lugala Hospital?
Lugala Hospital, located in rural Tanzania, procures medicines and medical equipment from Dar-es-Salam. Generally, orders are carefully prepared in Lugala before being organized and collected directly in Dar-es-Salam three to four times a year. This is then followed by trucking through the 570 km of mostly dirt roads that separate the suppliers’ hospitals.
Unfortunately, the hospital’s budget does not always allow for these quaternary orders. As a result, pharmacy managers are forced to organize so-called emergency orders when essential medicines run out. These more expensive orders allow the hospital to obtain basic medicines, which are essential for the smooth running of the hospital.
The pharmacy team is currently reviewing the entire stock of medicines and pharmaceutical materials. It is during this monthly inventory that differences between the actual stock and the computerized inventory can be discovered and thus corrected. The stock of medicines is also checked to ensure a continuous supply throughout the year. It is therefore at this time that emergency ordering decisions can be made. If the current stock is less than the monthly consumption, the items in question must be ordered as soon as possible.
With regard to suppliers for this type of order, the pharmacy at the health centre is currently in partnership with a company, which transports the medicines to the hospital at no extra cost.
Taking care of a pharmacy in rural Tanzania requires a lot of work! It is important to be both organized and flexible in order to plan ahead and be able to adapt to new and special circumstances or financial problems.
For more information, read the French article “Suivez-moi ! Une journée à la pharmacie de Lugala“, from April 2020.