Health facilities are the last component of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Managing pharmaceutical supply at the facility level directly affects the quality of health care. If medicines are consistently unavailable, patients suffer and staff members lose motivation. Everyone loses confidence in the health system, and patient attendance decreases. A constant pharmaceutical supply promotes effective care, inspires confidence in the health facility, and contributes to job satisfaction and self-esteem among staff.
Every health facility, however large or small, needs to store and manage its medicine stocks. Systems must be in place to ensure -
- Secure storage
- Storage in correct environmental conditions
- Accurate record keeping
- Effective reordering
- Effective stock rotation and expiry monitoring
- Effective fire and theft prevention
Health workers and managers often believe that inventory control is possible only when resources are plentiful. This is not the case. Inventory control is about managing and using the resources available. There will be "sufficient resources" only if effective inventory control is implemented. Good inventory control makes ordering and pharmaceutical management easier. Essential medicines programs place a high priority on improving inventory control to ensure a reliable supply of essential medicines, vaccines, and other items at health facilities. To achieve this aim, staff need to be trained in inventory control, storage, and ordering procedures.
The choice of an appropriate inventory control method varies according to the type of facility, scale of operations, and staff capabilities. Despite these differences, the principles of effective inventory control remain the same.