The procurement of health commodities is a complex process involving many steps and stakeholders both within and outside of government. Existing government policies, rules and regulations, structures and practices frequently fail to meet procurement needs in an efficient and cost effective manner.
In order to manage international and national procurement and assure the quality and distribution of goods, effective systems need to be in place.
Procurement is an essential component of the health system that ensures that the right drugs, commodities, equipment and services are in place at the right time so that patients can receive the treatment they need when they need it. Efficient procurement requires that systems and skilled staff are in place to manage the full procurement supply chain. Without these, problems including stock outs, overstocking, storage and distribution anomalies and malpractice are likely to occur.
In recent years, Nepal’s Ministry of Health, supported by several external partners, has introduced a number of improved systems and measures to improve the effectiveness and transparency of public procurement in health.
We support the Ministry of Health and the national public procurement management unit to improve the efficiency, economy, quality, timeliness and transparency of procurement in health including the strengthening of supply markets and contract management systems.
We do this by:
- Identifying gaps in procurement systems, including human resources and working practices
- Developing procurement policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures for the Ministry of Health’s Logistics Management Division (LMD)
- Preparing consolidated annual procurement plans that take into account the needs of all divisions and centres
- Supporting LMD to prepare tendering and evaluation procedures and bidding documents
- Supporting LMD to ensure the effective storage and distribution of drugs and commodities
- Supporting the preparation of a compliance and dispute resolution mechanism
- Supporting quality assurance including a technical specification bank
- Supporting the development of contract management and e-tendering systems
- Supporting procurement reform processes within government
- Supporting the installation and commissioning of equipment in health facilities
We supported LMD to develop and institutionalise its Consolidated Annual Procurement Plans (CAPP) and prepare related bidding documents, technical specifications and bid evaluations. Our procurement specialists, biomedical engineers and mechanical engineers are embedded in LMD and are providing day to day technical support across the country as required.
With our support, LMD has made steady progress in managing the procurement of health care goods and commodities. Significant achievements include development of the CAPP, an extensive technical specifications bank and contract management system, and the adoption of more systematic procedures for handling bids and contracts. At the same time many bidders have improved their understanding of government procurement processes and LMD’s staff are carrying out their jobs more efficiently. Some of our achievements include:
- LMD’s specification bank has been updated and contains 472 standard specifications of 70 essential drugs and 1,060 standard specifications of medical equipment, hospital furniture and cold-chain equipment.
- The WHO prequalified standard has been adopted for vaccines and family planning commodities.
- Three successive CAPPs have been prepared and progress has been monitored continuously by LMD.
- An e-procurement system has been established and bidders are participating in LMD procurement processes through the Public Procurement Management Office portal.
- An operations and management survey has been prepared based on a concept note on procurement reform in the health sector. This recommended revising LMD’s structure and adding several positions including procurement professionals.
The WHO prequalified standard has been adopted for vaccines and family planning commodities.
The specification bank contains 472 standard specifications of 70 essential drugs and 1,060 standard specifications for goods