Initiative will mobilize private sector expertise to help ensure that every woman, child and adolescent can access life-saving medicines and health commodities

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 18, 2018 – Today the Global Financing Facility (GFF), Merck for Mothers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The UPS Foundation launched a new public-private partnership to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of supply chains in low- and middle-income countries. The partnership is focused on scaling-up best practices from the private sector on supply chain management and leveraging private sector expertise in critical areas—such as transport, warehousing and distribution—to improve women, children and adolescents’ access to life-saving medicines and health commodities in GFF countries, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Quality medicines and health commodities need to be available to people when they need them, where they need them, in an affordable and sustainable way, and used appropriately for the best health and nutrition outcomes,” said Mariam Claeson, Director of the GFF. We know that the private sector is able to successfully deliver their product to the last mile, and through this new partnership we can draw on their expertise and innovation to scale up support for countries to strengthen their supply chains, with the potential to save millions of women, children and adolescents’ lives.”

Many countries are struggling to ensure the availability of life-saving commodities for women, children and adolescents, particularly in remote areas—contributing to more than 5 million maternal and child deaths from preventable conditions every year in 50 countries across the world. At the same time, private sector companies have demonstrated their ability to reach people in the most remote areas with their products, through highly responsive distribution and inventory systems. Bringing this private expertise to GFF-supported governments through innovative partnerships can help achieve better health and nutrition outcomes.

“A high-performing health commodity supply chain is a critical component of improving access to quality care for all. MSD for Mothers is proud to lend its supply chain and business expertise to support the strengthening of health systems through this public-private partnership,” said Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers

The GFF, a multi-stakeholder partnership that is working in 27 countries, with the aim to expand to a total of 50 countries, is investing in the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents with the greatest needs. In these countries, ineffective and inefficient supply chains are undermining countries’ efforts to reach the people who need life-saving medicines and health commodities the most, particularly women and children. The GFF supply chain partnership will work closely with all GFF partners to develop sustainable public-private solutions through government leadership.

Millions of women and children around the world depend on quality health care systems that deliver critical treatments at the right time,” said Dana Hovig, Director of Integrated Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.“This important new partnership will help countries apply successful private sector practices to ensure that medicines and other important healthcare products are consistently available, especially to the poorest and most vulnerable, when and where they’re needed.”

Data shows that distribution systems that leverage private sector logistics operators have the potential to increase availability of key commodities. An innovative distribution system in Senegal has been highly successful in increasing the availability of drugs and health commodities. The system began as a pilot in partnership with the Gates Foundation and Merck for Mothers, and is now transitioning to the Government of Senegal at a national scale, supported by development partners including the GFF and the World Bank.

"Our supply chain model, called Yeksi Naa, which means ‘I have arrived’ in Wolof, is based on the contracting of private operators for the last-mile delivery of key health products, i.e., between district and health service delivery points. From an initial pilot for family planning commodities, it is now being expanded nationally for a larger number of key health products. This public-private partnership ensures the availability of pharmaceutical and medical products by significantly reducing stock-outs, and has also strengthened the supply chain information system. The reason why Senegal has decided to rely on the private sector to deliver up to the last mile is to leverage the capacity of the private sector to improve the quality of the supply chain, complementing the work of Senegal’s Pharmacie Nationale D'Approvisionnement (PNA),” said Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Minister of Health and Social Action for Senegal. “The GFF's new public-private partnership will further help countries like Senegal to improve access to medicines and vital health products."

The GFF partnership will bring together governments, development partners and the private sector to develop innovative solutions for improving the warehousing and distribution functions of supply chains in GFF countries. This includes scaling proven supply chain innovations, supporting the implementation of supply chain reforms and enhancing government capacity to work strategically with private sector logistics operators to ensure delivery to the last mile.

“UPS understands the value of sharing its logistics and supply chain expertise with vulnerable communities, and, we know it will help save lives if we can improve the efficiency and resilience of their supply chains,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “It's a priority for us to support important initiatives like this one which bring about quantum change in the health of communities and create a model that can be replicated to strengthen public health systems around the globe.”

The partnership will also focus on evaluating supply chain reforms to build greater understanding of what could enhance supply chain efficiency, and on advancing thinking around broader engagement with the private sector in GFF countries.

More information on the GFF’s work with the private sector


About the Global Financing Facility

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents. The GFF supports governments to bring together partners around a country-led plan, prioritizing high-impact but underinvested areas of health. The GFF Trust Fund acts as a catalyst for financing, with countries using modest GFF Trust Fund grants to significantly increase their domestic resources alongside the World Bank’s IDA and IBRD financing, aligned external financing, and private sector resources. Each relatively small external investment is multiplied by countries’ own commitments—generating a large return on investment, ultimately saving and improving lives. Learn more: and @theGFF