By Kelly Sawyer, Technical Associate – TB
The SIAPS program, in collaboration with the Challenge TB project in Ethiopia, organized a national forecasting and quantification training on the QuanTB tool in September in Bishoftu town, Ethiopia.
QuanTB, which SIAPS developed in 2013, is a downloadable electronic tool designed to improve Tuberculosis (TB) medicines procurement processes, ordering and supply planning – a key part of strengthening health systems to treat and prevent the spread of the disease. Used regularly, QuanTB helps with medicines forecasting and quantification, and calculates actual versus planned consumption, helping to prevent potential expires and stock outs. Since introducing the system, SIAPS has helped 32 countries use it as a national forecasting tool by regularly providing formal training courses, workshops, and follow-up training to users. The software is available in six languages.
Challenged with a high burden of TB and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), Ethiopia is a major recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funds the country’s procurement of medicines and pharmaceutical products to fight TB. The USAID-funded Help Ethiopia Address the Low Tuberculosis Performance (HEAL TB) project backed the first QuanTB training in August of 2014, when 27 staff from the national TB program and stakeholder organizations were trained on the tool. Since then, the country’s Federal Ministry of Health and Pharmaceutical Fund and Supply Agency have consistently used the software. One major benefit as a result of using the tool was that, the country was able to save more than $2 million worth of TB medicines being expired due to overstock.
Recently, the ministry established a new health leadership group, the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Directorate, and requested QuanTB training for these new staffers as well as for a number of regional health leaders. To support this request,a SIAPS team built the capacity of 18 additional people in Ethiopia to use the tool for forecasting and quantification. As part of the training process, the group forecasted a three-year quantification for TB medicines in Ethiopia, spanning August 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019, further helping the country to make a more accurate estimate of its TB treatment needs and ensure that appropriate types and quantities of medicines are available to save patient lives.