WHO | Standard operating procedures for supply chain management of health products for neglected tropical diseases amenable to preventive chemotherapy

01 Aug 2022


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.

Target audience

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.

WHO Implementation