Sustainable Supply Chains

Addressing accessibility challenges in low- and middle-income countries by strengthening health supply chains.

Background

Across the globe, two billion people do not have access to medicines. At least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services and 100 million people are pushed to poverty due to health expenses. Low- and middle-income countries are the most affected, requiring major interventions to overcome health access barriers.

Access to care for patients in low- and middle-income countries with developing health systems is particularly challenging, especially for those at the base of the global economic pyramid. Establishing a robust supply chain is critical to ensure safe, effective, and continuous health-care-delivery.

Teresa Rodo Teresa Rodo

We work collaboratively with our international and local partners to improve access to medicines globally. I am particularly proud that our in-house expertise is contributing to address the challenges in supply chain in low- and middle-income countries so as to ensure that high-quality medicines sustainably reach patients in need.

Teresa Rodó

Head of Global Healthcare Operations, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Our engagement

In our Company, we work to achieve progress for mankind and to contribute to health for all.  
We are committed to address supply chain barriers, from the first mile supply challenges associated with manufacturing, storage and distribution of the medicines, to the last mile difficulties to deliver high quality medicines to patients in remote locations.  

We engage in capacity building activities by working with international and local partners for training throughout and across the supply chain. Through our supply chain work, we strengthen and optimize the delivery of medicines to patients.

Our approach to sustainable supply chains is based on cross-cutting principles: to ensure quality and safety of our medicines during production and delivery, to integrate process steps for improving efficiency and time delivery, to implement measures including trainings to local partners on best practices.  

Our Activities

We believe that innovation and partnerships are important elements to tackle current supply chain challenges.

In low- and middle-income countries, we prioritize our efforts by implementing capacity building initiatives that address the critical challenge of ensuring product reach for patients.  We engage non-profit organizations and local distributors to improve order fulfillment, rate for quality material, turnaround time.

Our Global Health unit, together with Global Healthcare Operations, drives these collaborative efforts in line with its mission to improve access to health for the underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries.

ACCESS MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Created as a volunteer pool of supply chain experts from our company, the Access Mentorship Program structures and organizes sharing of knowledge and experience with local supply chain experts in Africa. Virtual trainings and projects tackle various domains of expertise, including demand and supply planning, inventory management, purchasing practices, warehouse and storage management, bar coding, quality control and standards, customer service and importation processes.

We collaborate with Business for Health Solutions (BHS), a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase healthcare access for communities in Africa by building the capacity of local healthcare enterprises. BHS connects teams of volunteer experts from us to distributors and healthcare service providers and facilitates remote technical assistance projects to help address their supply and logistics challenges. The program was piloted in Tanzania and achieved some tangible successes in several key performance indicators. With the support of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, it is expanding to other low- and middle-income countries, including Ghana.

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Our Impact – Partnership in Tanzania

96%

order fulfillment rate by the local distributor, vs 82% prior

5

days max. delivery of out of stock medicines to regional hospitals, vs 10 days prior

0%

rejection rate of raw materials for drug manufacturing, vs 10% prior

Margo Carlen Margo Carlen

By volunteering just one hour per week, supply chain experts from our company can help to address supply chain capacity gaps, reducing some of the biggest barriers to access to healthcare. Our experts share their skills and knowledge with African counterparts, developing insights and leadership competencies in the process.

Margo Carlen

co-CEO

Business for Health Solutions

Who are our champions?

“With my Supply Chain colleagues at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, I was happy to contribute concretely in delivering business value to collaborators in Africa, through the Access Mentorship Program, that is a great way to leverage our supply chain competencies and best practices. I was proud to see that the program was acknowledged in the 2021 Access To Medicine Index.”

Didier Dayen, Senior Director Global Advanced Planning & Center of Expertise, Supply Network Operations (Global Healthcare Operations) - Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Didier Dayen is part of the Supply Network Operations of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Healthcare. Leading the Center of Expertise team, which is responsible for the planning and execution processes, he also serves as the embedded Access Ambassador in the Global Healthcare Operations. He joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, 28 years ago and held various Supply Chain positions at regional and global levels, both on processes & tools implementation as well as in operational roles. 

“Building a robust supply chain network is critical to ensure that patients in low- and middle-income countries have access to medicines and effective health services. We are proud of our colleagues, who share their expertise and best practices with local partners to address supply chain gaps in the Global South.”

Chrys Herrera, Head of Access To Health, Global Health – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Chrys Herrera leads the Access to Health team in Global Health, which is responsible for using the shared value approach to increase access to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany health solutions in low- and middle-income countries. He joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2015 and has moved across medical and government affairs roles for country, regional, and global assignments. Prior to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Chrys worked for the UPecon - Health Policy Development Program, a USAID project supporting the implementation of universal health care in the Philippines.