The National Department of Health and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Global Health Supply Chain Program – Technical Assistance (GHSC-TA) collaborated and developed the NSC, a web-based performance monitoring and evaluation tool. Using nationally agreed key performance indicators, medicine availability data from hospitals and clinics, pharmaceutical depots, and suppliers of medicine is visualized on dashboards, providing a holistic view of availability throughout the South African public health medicine supply chain.
The NSC has helped the country’s hospitals and clinics to understand stock-on-hand reporting and facilitate re-distribution of stock between health establishments based on need. The GHSC-TA provincial support team (PST) is also working with provinces to interpret and use the NSC’s reports to understand and monitor medicine availability at the health establishment level.
Settlers Hospital is one of the many hospitals that utilizes the NSC. This hospital is a provincial government-funded health establishment in Makhanda (previously known as Grahamstown), in the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa. According to the most recent census, Makhanda is home to just over 67,000 people and Settlers Hospital is the main hospital that serves the population. The hospital provides a wide range of services, and its pharmacy department provides the necessary medicines and medical-related products to meet patient needs.
Being the largest hospital in the area, there is an obvious need for Settlers Hospital to practice comprehensive medicine supply management to facilitate optimal medicine availability, promote rational medicine use, and support cost-effective management of these costly resources. On a weekly basis, the GHSC-TA PST generates a report from data extracted from the NSC. This report is shared with all the hospital staff in pharmacy departments in the Eastern Cape. The report provides details of stock on hand in each hospital in the province, providing province-wide visibility to the broader stakeholder group of pharmacy staff. Settlers Hospital has identified several advantages of using NSC data.