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Setting up a National Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit (NPPU) in Sierra Leone /

Providing procurement expertise to develop effective healthcare systems

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone has contracted Crown Agents to set up and manage a National Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit (NPPU). This unit will supply and distribute essential medical products to health facilities in all 14 districts, making medicines available across Sierra Leone.

Improving maternal and child health in Sierra Leone

The NPPU will also manage the distribution of medicines under the Free Healthcare Initiative; a programme to provide free health care to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of 5 throughout Sierra Leone. UNICEF estimates the lifetime risk of a woman dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth is 1 in 8 and 1 in 12 children die before their first birthday.

Warehouse worker riding a forklift.Building sustainable capacity for a healthier future

A core team of Crown Agents experts is now based at the Central Medical Stores in Freetown, working with local counterparts to establish the NPPU. The NPPU will be a self-governing and self-financing organisation. It is expected that district pharmacies and hospitals will buy at least 80 per cent of their needs from the NPPU, rather than buying commodities independently. In return the NPPU will ensure a robust and reliable and cost-effective supply chain service to these facilities.

Our approach:

  • Putting in place robust financial processes and standard operating procedures
  • Developing HR strategies to focus on performance
  • Strengthening existing procurement, warehousing and distribution systems