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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. The integration process goes beyond the handover of logistics functions to NMS and encompasses upstream components such as governance, planning, financing and performance management.
Under nutrition remains an important contributor of poor maternal, new-born and child survival and development in Uganda. While prevalence of stunting has decreased from 33 per cent to 29 per cent between 2011 and 2016, there are estimated 1,850,000 stunted children in the country.
During the same period, wasting has been mostly stagnant with a decline from 5 per cent to 4 per cent.
There is significant variation among regions in Uganda, whereby wasting is the highest in the regions with emergencies or chronic and cyclical drought.
For provision of SAM treatment supplies, UNICEF is a main partner to the Ministry of Health (MoH), supporting the forecasting, procurement, storage, delivery and monitoring of these supplies. In 2018, a total of 46,820 children under 5 years of age affected by SAM were admitted to treatment nationally.
UNICEF currently runs a parallel supply chain for the SAM treatment supplies – i.e., the supplies procured by UNICEF are stored in a UNICEF warehouse and distributed by UNICEF to stores of focus districts and Regional Referral Hospitals.
Last-mile deliveries from district stores to health facilities are handled by districts with UNICEF support.
On the other hand, there is a national supply chain system for essential medicines and health supplies managed by National Medical Stores (NMS) in the country, in which NMS delivers supplies from its central warehouse to health facilities on a monthly or bimonthly basis depending on a supply. Vitamin A supplies are distributed through this mechanism.
UNICEF and WFP launched the Karamoja Nutrition Programme, a 3.5-year programme (2018-2021) aiming to reduce child and maternal undernutrition and anaemia through a system strengthening approach, with financial support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
One of the focus areas of the KNP is the strengthening and integration of nutrition supply chain at national and district levels.
In this context, in December 2018, a stakeholder meeting on the nutrition supply chain integration was convened in which key stakeholders, including the MoH and NMS, showed their commitments to the integration process.