Putting Integration into Perspective: Proven Practices to Strengthen Public Health Supply Chains
(2009; 13 pages)

This publication was produced for review by the U.S. Agency for International Development. It was prepared by the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order I. HIV-related activities of Task Order 1 are supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.


Historically, in public sector health supply chains, there have been a number of different interpretations for the term integration. Integration is often used to characterize desirable supply chain improvement efforts. Country program managers and policymakers, non-supply chain technical assistance providers, and donors/funders typically use it to mean the merging of programmatically separate (or vertical) supply chains for specified programs or product categories. By its very nature, this approach to integration looks at measures to reduce redundancy and complexity across supply chains, without explicitly focusing on improved customer service. Thus, while this approach to integration can increase efficiency, it does not necessarily lead to improved product availability. For public health programs undertaking these initiatives, we suggest that this type of integration be called product integration, i.e., where management of some or all logistics functions is combined in the same supply chain for different commodity categories.

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