Strengthening Health Implementation & Procurement

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UNDP Health Procurement and Supply Chain Support Services

Guaranteeing quality. Enhancing capacity. Maximizing savings.


Procurement of affordable quality-assured health products is a key aspect of maximizing the quality and reach of essential health services and improving peoples’ lives. UNDP supports public health institution’s procurement processes by offering reliable and timely delivery, quality-assured products, and excellent value for money. Building on our expertise and experience in delivering large, complex programmes for the Global Fund and other partners, we help governments to strengthen the supply chain management of health products. UNDP’s procurement of health products is carried out in close coordination with WHO and other UN agencies, complementing existing mandates and leveraging each other’s expertise.

UNDP support services

  • Procurement of medicines and other health products: UNDP procures US$ 310 million a year of health products for Governments, using UNDP’s consolidated international procurement architecture and long-term agreements with suppliers and leveraging significant economies of scale. We specialize primarily in the procurement of medicines and diagnostics for infectious diseases, including TB and HIV, as well as a broad range of laboratory and hospital equipment . In the last two years, we have been increasingly asked to procure other health products, including for non-communicable diseases.
  • Developing the capacity of the supply chain: We support Governments to build resilient health systems and support the national procurement and supply chain systems. UNDP provides technical expertise to strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks, manage intellectual property rights, improve procurement strategies and regulations, and remove potential barriers to equitable access to affordable medicines.

UNDP delivers

Experience: UNDP is currently providing health procurement and capacity strengthening services in 30 countries, totaling US$1.3 billion in signed agreements, and $310 million in annual expenditure. A significant part of this relates to our management of Global Fund grants in 19 countries and three regional programmes.

Value for money: UNDP has a proven track record of procuring medicines at highly competitive cost. By leveraging our experience and reputation, we secure the best prices for partners. For example, in 2016 savings of $29.6 million in the procurement of ARVs were generated in reduced unit costs as compared to the previous year. These savings are reinvested to support increased health service coverage or to strengthen national supply chain systems. We also act as a single interface with suppliers, limiting the contracts our partners manage and reducing administration costs.

Enhanced national capacity: We have a capacity development mandate and extensive experience in supporting governments to strengthen national health systems, including procurement and supply chain management systems in areas such as procurement processes, inventory management, warehousing, and distribution.

Strengthened regulatory frameworks: We provide support to countries to promote enabling national legal and regulatory frameworks, including the management of intellectual property rights to facilitate equitable access to affordable and essential medicines.

Technical cooperation: We also leverage the technical competence of the UN family and other partners. Availability of internal rapid call-off mechanisms as well as comprehensive rosters of technical experts, enable quick deployment of vetted experts to either surge the capacity of national counterparts and/or provide specialized technical assistance in multiple PSM related aspects.

International quality standards: UNDP operates in accordance with international standards and more particularly according to the norms and standards for health products from World Health Organization (WHO). We apply robust quality assurance criteria when procuring health products to prevent risk of sourcing substandard or falsified products. Additional random quality control is also done to ensure quality products are effectively supplied and to maintain the pressure on suppliers. Use of data loggers is a UNDP standard practice enabling effective temperature monitoring of all shipments. UNDP is also contributing to the development and enforcement of national quality assurance policies.

Speed and reliability: By establishing effective procurement and supply chain management systems, we ensure the continuous, reliable and timely supply of quality-assured, effective products in the requested quantities. This is supported by long-term agreements with leading global shipping and insurance companies. We have fast track processes in place for awarding contracts within very short timeframes from receipt of request for most standard products. Where needed UNDP will secure immediate availability of standard products, from existing stocks, to avert possible stock-out situations.

Accountability and transparency: We employ open and transparent procurement processes and all products are purchased to always comply with recognized technical standards and UNDP’s well-established procurement procedures and processes.

Environmental Sustainability: UNDP promotes environmentally friendly management of medical waste and use of renewable energy in the supply chain, including solar power. We work with suppliers to promote green production and to optimize packaging.

Procurement for Health Results:

UNDP mandate: Support to health procurement is guided by UNDP’s “HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021” and is in line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017 to strengthen institutions to deliver basic social services.