From the Americas to Africa, the Logistics Support System, better known as LSS/SUMA, is being adopted by ministries of health as a tool for the routine management of medical supplies.
LSS/SUMA has been widely used in emergencies and disasters to set up warehouse networks which assist in the management and supply of medicines, donations, and other items related to disaster response activities.
During the H1N1 pandemic in Mexico (2009) a project was established to train personnel to operate LSS/SUMA and it was implemented throughout the country for the routine management of supplies. In Panama, the Ministry of Health set up a central warehouse, using the SUMA platform to coordinate supply management for all of the Ministry’s major pharmacies. This same strategy has been used with different results in Lebanon and Pakistan.
LSS/SUMA, which was created by PAHO/WHO to manage humanitarian supplies, has been implemented in Libya, where armed conflict has caused a major humanitarian crisis. At the request of the World Health Organization, a team trained in Egypt was deployed to Libya to train personnel and set up the system. LSS/SUMA has also been used in Angola, Somalia, Cambodia, and Turkey.
After confirmation of the first cases of cholera in the Dominican Republic. the Ministry of Health launched a project to strengthen logistic capacity and optimize supply management, using LSS/SUMA as a model. As a first step, a warehouse was established to meet the demand for cholera treatment supplies. A network of regional warehouses was then created so that the supplies could be moved quickly to where they were required. It was decided to use LSS/SUMA to improve management of Ministry of Health supplies. The network of warehouses offers accurate information on the distribution of supplies at the national level, deliveries to health centers, and immediate needs. This information assists in decision making and assigning resources to meet demands.
LSS/SUMA has been adopted for the management of health supplies in Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and more recently the Dominican Republic.