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21st June 2019


Access to medicine remains poor and inequitable in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This is a complex and multi-dimensional issue calling for holistic solutions. Studies in this area focus on singular disciplines, highlighting one or two main issues; this paper seeks to consider this issue from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

It first enumerates the supply chain bottlenecks which lead to poor access to medicine. Since access is dependent on a host of factors, it is critical to understand each of these in the context of LMICs. Secondly, the paper proposes interventions to improve access by focusing on availability, affordability, quality and obtainability of medicine. These interventions are categorised into broader areas of focus to help stakeholders understand their role and responsibilities across the supply chain functions. Finally, the paper establishes a rationale for each intervention, matching it to a WHO Building Block and the corresponding supply chain management function.

The resulting map will allow stakeholders to envision policies that will contribute to comprehensive solutions that strengthen the public health supply chains in LMICs.