WHO plays a major role in the cycle of supply chain management for donated and/or
procured health products for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) amenable to preventive
chemotherapy and individual case management.
This first edition describes the standard operating procedures for health products for NTDs
amenable to preventive chemotherapy and the medicines donated to treat them. These
include albendazole for lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases; azithromycin
for trachoma and yaws; diethylcarbamazine citrate for lymphatic filariasis; ivermectin for
onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis; mebendazole for soil-transmitted helminthiases;
praziquantel for schistosomiasis; and triclabendazole for foodborne trematodiases.
Standard operating procedures for diseases amenable to case management will be
covered in subsequent editions, including the application process for requesting medicines
(Chapter 1). In the meantime, the procedures described in the rest of the document apply
for both case management and preventive chemotherapy NTD health products.
WHO and the NTD Supply Chain Forum prepared this set of standard operating procedures
to reflect key characteristics in the supply chain management of health products including
donated medicines for use in mass drug administration (MDA) at the country level. Health
ministries and national programmes for NTDs are encouraged to adopt and adapt them to
their country context.
The role of the supply chain in MDA
MDA plays a role in the primary prevention of NTDs amenable to preventive chemotherapy
by decreasing transmission rates in populations at risk. 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 medicines during MDA.
In order to meet the coverage targets the supply chain must be managed, from planning
and quantifying needs, to moving stock from production sites to patients at the service
delivery point to communities, schools and hospitals, among others, and to retrieving and
accounting for leftover stock, and all steps in between.
Objectives of these standard operating procedures
These standard operating procedures are intended to help strengthen the capacity of
health ministries and national NTD programmes to mainstream and institutionalize efficient
management of the supply chain for NTD medicines. They outline supply chain tasks and
responsibilities before, during and after MDA. They also present key considerations for
optimizing planning and implementation of supply chain activities in the country.
These procedures support the realization of the goal set in the WHO 2030 road map for
NTDs: an effective supply chain that ensures timely access to and availability of qualityassured medicines, products and pharmaceutical supplies at all levels and avoiding, e.g.
stockout, wastage, loss of tablets.
The procedures are intended for use as a reference document by responsible persons and
key stakeholders of the NTD supply chain, as illustrated below.
Responsible persons and key stakeholders include both organizations and individuals.
- Organizations: Health ministries, national NTD programmes, central medical stores, national procurement
and logistics agencies, regional and district medical stores, frontline health facilities,
schools and national educational institutions.
- Individuals: National NTD programme staff and stakeholders, medical stores staff at all levels –
pharmacists and warehouse managers, NTD focal persons and MDA supervisors,
community health workers and community drug distributors.