To strengthen medicines management capacity, including supply chain management, at public sector health facilities in Uganda, the Ministry of Health introduced a multipronged supervision, performance assessment, and recognition strategy (SPARS). The aim of this study was to assess the impact of SPARS on improving supply chain management. A series of four papers on SPARS described the SPARS concept, its impact on overall and domain practices and appropriate medicines use, and now in the fourth paper describing the effect on supply chain management.
District-based health workers trained as supervisors build facility-level capacity in medicines management using an indicator-based performance assessment followed by targeted supervisory visits. From 2010 to 2013, 1222 SPARS visits were implemented, and the SPARS performance indicator scores determined. This article assesses impact on 13 indicators in three of the five SPARS domains-stock management, storage management, and ordering and reporting quality-using a pre-post design. We also explored factors that may have influenced these outcomes.
Between the first and last visit within one year of SPARS implementation, we found an average improvement of 16 percentage points (p < 0.001) in supply chain management measures across all levels of care. The improvement in scores for stock management, storage management, and ordering and reporting was 22 (ns), 16 (p < 0.001), and 11 (p = 0.032) percentage points, respectively. The study identified the key predictors of positive change as a low initial indicator score, frequent supervisory visits, and engagement of the district health officer.
The multipronged SPARS approach was effective in building supply chain management capacity in lower-level health care facilities with statistically significant improvements in supply chain management overall and in almost all stock and storage- management and ordering and reporting measures after one year of implementation. We recommend broad dissemination of the SPARS approach as an effective strategy to strengthen supply chain management in low-income countries.
The study did not involve or use human participants or identifiable personal data, human tissue, or animals and thus did not require ethical approval or a waiver. It is a study implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and does not require trial registration.