Flora Kalimba is the only female among the three task order coordinators at Global Health Supply Chain Program- Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project in Malawi. She is the power behind supply chain management for family planning and maternal, neonatal and child health.
Her work consists of supporting the MOH through the Reproductive Health Department (RHD) to make sure there is uninterrupted availability of family planning commodities and maternal, neonatal and child health products in Malawi. The work involves promoting platforms like Global FP VAN, and electronic LMIS (OpenLMIS) that are assisting with good visibility of information when sourcing, procuring, delivering of FP and MNCH commodities.
“I make sure that we are assisting the government in processes like quantification of commodities, procurement of commodities, making distribution planning, tracking shipments and also getting reports from facilities and analyzing them and sharing with relevant members for decision making. At the same time, I make sure that partners that are supporting family planning are well coordinated so that activities that ends in availing commodities are in line with the RDH needs.”
Her efforts have strengthened capacity of RHD by mentoring the logistics officers in the public sector. Whereas supply chain was disorganized in 2017, constant engagement and collaboration has assisted RHD to be at the forefront of many supply chain activities. Previously MOH did not know who is procuring what and how much funding is there and when the shipments are coming. When the GFP VAN came into existence, the ministry found itself on the fore front pushing partners asking when they are bringing their commodities. If ever there are delays, they are on the fore front advising facilities about a delayed shipment and the need to make the distribution within the districts.
Kalimba gets her fulfilment when there are no FP commodity stock outs in health facilities. This is when she is certain that a client has not been given a method not of her choice or returned from a health facility without getting a contraceptive. “At the end of the day, whatever I am doing is on behalf of a client who is out there, who doesn’t know that I am existing. All they see is that they have gone to a facility, get contraceptives, have gone home. They are happy.”
Prior to joining GHSC-PSM project team Flora was at Village Reach, National Malaria Control Program, Central Medical Stores Trust and Kamuzu Central Hospital where she has been thriving behind the scenes or managing the medical store. Being a lady has not deterred Flora from standing out in a male dominated field. "A woman in supply chain has the same capabilities as a qualified man in the same space; - all we need is to recognize roles women play in the society if we are to deliver the services to the needy. No segregation. Let women voice be heard in decision making and implementation as well."
Kalimba is happy that GHSC-PSM is supportive of gender equality stating that, “it’s a conducive environment to work be it a woman or man. We work as a team and that encourages me to work on my expertise without any hesitation.”