Standard operating procedures for health commodity supply chain management for neglected tropical diseases amenable to chemoprevention


WHO plays a major role in the supply chain management cycle for health products donated and/or procured for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) eligible for chemoprevention and taking in individual charge. This first edition describes standard operating procedures for health products for chemopreventive NTDs and the drugs given to treat them. These include albendazole for lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis; azithromycin for trachoma and yaws; diethylcarbamazine citrate for lymphatic filariasis; ivermectin for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis; mebendazole for soil-transmitted helminthiasis; praziquantel for schistosomiasis; and triclabendazole for foodborne trematodia. Standard operating procedures for diseases under case management will be covered in later editions, including the drug request process (Chapter 1). In the meantime, the procedures described in the rest of the document apply to both case management and NTD chemoprevention health products. WHO and the NTD Supply Chain Forum have prepared this set of standard operating procedures to reflect key features of supply chain management for health commodities, including donated drugs for use in mass drug administration (AMM) at the national level. Ministries of health and national NTD programs are encouraged to adopt and adapt them to their country context.

The Role of the Supply Chain in MDA

MAID plays a role in the primary prevention of chemopreventive NTDs by decreasing transmission rates in at-risk populations. The effectiveness of the MDA strategy depends on epidemiological coverage, which is defined by WHO recommended targets for the proportion of the total population ingesting the drugs during MDA. In order to achieve coverage goals, the supply chain must be managed, from planning and quantifying needs, to moving inventory from production sites to patients at the point of service delivery to communities, schools and hospitals, among others, and the recovery and accounting of leftover stock, and all the intermediate steps.

Objectives of these standard operating procedures

These standard operating procedures are intended to help build the capacity of ministries of health and national NTD programs to integrate and institutionalize effective NTD drug supply chain management. They describe the tasks and responsibilities of the supply chain before, during and after the MDA. They also present key considerations for optimizing the planning and implementation of supply chain activities in the country.

These procedures support the achievement of the goal set in the WHO 2030 Roadmap for NTDs: an efficient supply chain that ensures timely access and availability of quality medicines, pharmaceutical products and supplies. guaranteed at all levels and avoiding, for example, stock shortages, wastage, loss of tablets.

Target audience

The procedures are intended to be used as a reference document by responsible persons and key stakeholders in the NTD supply chain, as illustrated below. Responsible persons and key stakeholders include both organizations and individuals.

  • Organizations: Ministries of health, national NTD programs, central medical stores, national supply and logistics agencies, regional and district medical stores, frontline health facilities, national schools and educational institutions.
  • People: National NTD program staff and stakeholders, medical store staff at all levels – pharmacists and warehouse managers, NTD focal points and MDA supervisors, community health workers and community drug distributors.

Maria J. Book