Last month, I had the honor of welcoming United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a visit that took place December 15-18, 2013.
As MSH implements the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Project in the DRC, USAID asked SIAPS to arrange for Administrator Shah to visit the Federation of Central Procurement in Essential Medicines in Kinshasa (FEDECAME) with the DRC’s Minister of Health, Dr. Felix Kabange, to discuss how to improve the procurement and quality assurance of essential medicines. FEDECAME currently receives technical support from the SIAPS Program, implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), as well as the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS), a PEPFAR-funded program led by the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFCSM). PFSCM is a nonprofit organization established by MSH and John Snow Inc.
Administrator Shah also attended a separate meeting with the Congolese Ministry of Health and representatives of other bilateral donor agencies and partners to discuss development challenges and opportunities in the DRC. During this meeting, Minister of Health Dr. Kabange emphasized the need for a modern warehouse and distribution system for medicines. The Minister of Health expressed his country’s gratitude to USAID and SIAPS for conducting an evaluation that identified the gaps and vulnerabilities of the pharmaceutical supply chains in country and providing assistance to strengthen the capacity of the distribution system.
USAID Administrator Shah reiterated the U.S. Government’s commitment to “A Promise Renewed,” USAID’s call for action to improve child survival globally. Through this effort, the DRC aims to save the lives of more than 400,000 children under age 5 by 2015.
Phillipe Tshiteta is MSH’s Country Representative in the Democractic Republic of Congo as well as the Director of the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS). He is based in Kinshasa.