Objectives: Limited human resources are widely recognised as a barrier to
achieve health-related Millennium Development Goals. Availability of medical
supplies and suitably trained health personnel are crucial to ensuring a
well-functioning medical supply system. The objective of this paper is to
identify the factors which influence the availability of medical supplies within
the health facilities of Vanuatu.
Methods: A qualitative triangulated strategy using semi-structured
interviews, observational workplace surveys and semi-structured focus groups was
developed. This research was approved by the Human Ethics Committee of the
University of Canberra and was funded through a direct grant from the United
Nations Population Fund Suva, Pacific sub regional office.
Results: During two weeks of data collection, 21 interviews were conducted,
observational workplace surveys were completed in 19 facilities and 22 personnel
participated in three focus groups across three provinces. The interviewees had
a wide range of primary professional groupings and were representative of the
Vanuatu health workforce. A complex array of medical supply issues are described
from within the three tiered structure of the medical supply system.
Conclusion: The results of this research have further informed our
understanding of the competencies required by healthcare personnel to conduct
medical supply management activities effectively in Pacific Island countries. As
a result of this research, a platform is provided for the government of Vanuatu
to engage development partners to work toward a sustainable medical supply