News

Better Contraceptives Supply Management Saves and Improves Lives

22 March 2019
Opening speech by Dr. Domingas Bernardo, UNFPA Assistant Country Representative Photo by: Roderick T.J. Buiskool | UNFPA Timor-Leste

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Timor-Leste has improved access to basic health services in most rural areas but access and distribution to contraceptive supplies is still a challenge.

  • UNFPA held a two day National Workshop on an Operational Research on Expired Contraceptives Leading to Stock-Out at the National Institute for Health (INS).

  • The workshop’s aim is to improve the contraceptive supply chain management at different levels, as well as assessing the reasons of the stock out of contraceptives.

 

Our collaborative work has resulted in the decrease of the maternal mortality rate (mmr) from 557/100000 live births in 2010 (Timor-Leste Demographic Health Survey 2010) to 218/100000 live births in 2016 (Timor-Leste Demographic Health Survey 2016)”. – Mr. Narciso Fernandes, Acting Director General for Service Delivery.
 

From the 21st to the 22nd of March 2019, UNFPA Timor-Leste together with the Ministry of Health Timor-leste, and with participation from relevant development partners,  held a two day National Workshop on an Operational Research on Expired Contraceptives Leading to Stock-Out  at the National Institute for Health (INS).

The workshop’s aim is to improve the contraceptive supply management, as well as assessing the reasons of the stock out of contraceptives. The two day workshop was attended by Serviço Autónomo de Medicamentos e Equipamentos de Saúde (SAMES) staff, District Public Health Officer- Maternal and Child Health (DPHO-SMI), Municipality Health Directors, pharmacists, INS, and the Director of Public Health.  

Dr. Vinit Sharma, Senior Maternal Health Advisor and senior Regional Maternal Health Advisor, UNFPA Asia and Pacific Regional Office, opened the workshop by emphasizing that “Family planning programs are preventive programs, just as immunization prevents the spread of illnesses, family planning programs and its commodities prevents unwanted pregnancies, which ultimately prevents maternal and infant mortality”, he said.

In spite of Timor-Leste’s achievements in improving basic health services, access to medication and contraceptives remains a significant issue in some areas, particularly in remote areas without hospitals and where medications and contraceptives are only available at health posts or community health centers.

Responsibility for the distribution of drugs and medical supplies in the country falls under the Ministry of Health, through an autonomous medical store called Serviço Autónomo de Medicamentos e Equipamentos de Saúde (SAMES). The Ministry manages the procurement and quality inspection of these medications and supplies. Around 90% of all contraceptives are distributed through SAMES.

 

On the second day of the workshop, the UNFPA country representative, Mr. Ronny Lindstrom and the UNFPA Reproductive Health analyst, Dr. Domingas Sarmento  was given a guided tour of the SAMES warehouse by its Director. Throughout the tour, UNFPA inspected the storage and supply management of contraceptives.

Mr. Ronny Lindstrom affirmed UNFPA’S commitment to improving the current standard of contraceptive supply for the people of Timor-Leste.

“UNFPA is committed to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other development partners towards a healthy Timor-Leste, which contributes to progress and sustainable national development”, he said.