World AIDS Day 2021: The fight to end HIV and AIDS continues….

by | Nov 30, 2021

Health supply chains play an integral role in improving access to critical HIV and other health commodities. Improving the efficiency of these supply chains is an important action in the fight to end HIV and AIDS.  

Despite HIV being reported as one of the major global health issues, availability and accessibility of HIV services and supplies still remain limited, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); and this has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are thankful though that amid the chaos of the pandemic, HIV and other epidemics like TB also received more global attention as previously untapped audiences learned about vaccine development processes, and the important role existing HIV and TB laboratory systems play in facilitating COVID-19 testing.

Our journey, commitment and work continues…

We set up shop in 2005 when the HIV crisis was at its peak, with more than 30 million people infected on the African continent alone. Our mission since then has been to strengthen, develop, and manage secure, reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable global supply chains to improve the health and well-being of people in LMICs through increased access to quality and affordable health products.

Over the last 15 years we stayed true to our mission and worked diligently to continue delivering HIV health products to countries around the world; and every year on World AIDS Day we “take stock”, reflect on our supply chain achievements, and celebrate the progress made by public health programs. 

In the first three quarters of 2021 (Jan to Sep), across all clients and projects, PFSCM facilitated (meaning delivered, underway and in the pipeline) the procurement of more than $192 million of HIV testing, treatment and prevention products for 72 countries, and delivered 1,311 shipments.

HIV rapid diagnostic test kits made up the bulk of our HIV products volume, followed by viral load (VL) and early infant diagnostics (EID) products, analyzer reagents, reagents for VL/EID, and auxiliary equipment used in testing procedures. 

Earlier this year, for PPM, PFSCM achieved a notable success when we secured a large emergency order for HIV self-test kits from a local Ugandan supplier. Tens of thousands of HIV self-test kits for Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development were procured through a local authorized distributor at a price comparable to that of importing and shipping via ocean. The emergency shipment was required urgently, and because PFSCM was able to source the products locally, the shipment was delivered almost right away.

Local sourcing is an important procurement strategy for PFSCM. Through good supplier relationships we ensure that we, our peers and our clients have access to affordable quality products that are readily available locally, for all purchasing scenarios including emergency responses.

Meanwhile, we also continued delivering supply chain services for our other clients including Johnson & Johnson’s New Horizon Collaborative, GILEAD’s contribution to the Determined, Resilient Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe Women (DREAMS) initiative, and El Consejo Nacional para el VIH y el Sida (CONAVIHSIDA) of the Dominican Republic (DR). 

New Horizons Collaborative

PFSCM has been serving the New Horizons Collaborative (NHC) since 2016. 

PFSCM administers the forecasting, order and shipment process to individual recipient program countries and collaborates with partners to ensure the timely and secure delivery of Janssen’s contribution to recipient countries, thereby improving access to pediatric HIV medicines for children experiencing HIV treatment failure.

In 2021, we expanded our service offering for the NHC through monitoring and evaluation projects. In collaboration with our parent company, JSI Research & Training Institute Inc., and its affiliates InSupply in East Africa, and JSH Zambia, we are providing on the ground support to a select group of NHC countries in sub-Saharan Africa assisting them in identifying gaps and implementing best practices to improve health supply chain performance.

Further, in 2021, about $20.5 million worth of pediatric HIV medicines were ordered through PFSCM with shipments delivered to several African countries.

El Consejo Nacional para el VIH y el Sida (CONAVIHSIDA)

PFSCM has been serving CONAVIHSIDA for more than 10 years.

PFSCM is responsible for procurement, and has undertaken diverse technical assistance– and in-country logistics projects. Our core activities include the procurement and distribution of HIV health products, mainly antiretrovirals (ARVs).

Since collaborating with CONAVIHSIDA, we have delivered more than 939 shipments of HIV commodities valued at more than $91 million to the DR. Through best procurement practices, we have saved CONAVIHSIDA over $1 million in procurement costs on a yearly basis. The savings can be translated into roughly 6,500 additional first line treatments per year, or 4,000 additional second line treatments per year.

Most recently, PFSCM helped CONAVIHSIDA to plan for and adopt multi-month dispensing (MMD) of ARVs to stable patients who meet strict treatment criteria. With MMD a patient may receive a three or six-month supply of antiviral therapy.

From 2018 to 2021, PFSCM has partnered with local stakeholders to implement several interventions that have helped ensure a continuous supply of ARVs. The projects addressed multiple areas of the public health supply chain: the selection of health products to be purchased, the estimation of the needs and the scheduling of the purchase, the acquisition on both local and international market, the storage and transportation.

Determined, Resilient Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe Women (DREAMS) 

Gilead Sciences Inc. granted PFSCM more than $6 million for the procurement of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs to be used on behalf of the DREAMS partnership in several sub-Saharan African countries.

For the last five years, PFSCM has sourced, quality tested and coordinated the delivery of over 680,000 packs of essential HIV-preventing PrEP tablets – enough to treat about 56,515 people for a year.

In 2021, PFSCM shipped almost $300,000 worth of HIV drugs to Zambia, $132,000 to Malawi and $835,000 to South Africa on behalf of the DREAMS program.

PFSCM ships PrEP to eight African countries including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.