Healthcare Agency Serves as Supply-Chain Specialist
Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department (MSD), an agency within the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, plays a key role in bringing top-quality supplies to the country’s healthcare sector. Joseph Mgaya, Director General, explains, “We are a very important arm of the ministry concerning health commodities utilized in the public healthcare sector. We source, import, store and distribute these commodities. We are now looking into supplying private hospitals as well as public facilities.”
MSD has established nine distribution centers throughout the country and handles all types of healthcare commodities, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, equipment, laboratory materials and other items used in hospitals. In addition to around 600 standard commodities, MSD offers specialized products used in radiology, oncology and other fields. “We work with around 2,000 different products at a time,” Mr. Mgaya says.
World-class quality standards
MSD imports around 80% of the pharmaceuticals products and around 90% of the medical supplies it handles. Many of these imported products are from China and India. World-class quality standards are ensured by the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), with which all of MSD’s suppliers must be registered.
Mr. Mgaya points out, “The TFDA’s standards are World Health Organization standards. We also have our own quality assurance unit here at MSD, and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards also sets criteria. So, many institutions make sure that our products meet the highest standards.” MSD chooses its suppliers through a tender process and has recently begun to inspect suppliers’ production facilities.
MSD aims to continue to upgrade its distribution network. “We are moving from 500 drop points to over 5,000 in order to enhance our supply chain, and we already have some projects with Coca Cola,” Mr. Mgaya explains. He concludes, “MSD is focusing on becoming a world-class supply-chain organization over the next five years.”