Making Way for Medicines

3 min readFeb 15, 2024
A health worker in Somalia navigates conflict to bring health supplies to communities. Photo: CARE International.

By: Anne Marie Hvid

In Somalia, ongoing political unrest and conflict has limited people’s access to health care services. Humanitarian responders like CARE International provide essential support in a landscape where 17 million people, nearly half of the population, require assistance. Here, as in more than 30 countries, JSI is lending supply chain management expertise to humanitarian partners.

“The population we serve is affected by cyclical disasters, including droughts, cyclones, flash floods, epidemics, and conflicts that affect their livelihood and health status,” said Abdikadir Ore Ahmed, senior health and nutrition advisor for CARE International, Somalia. “Women and children, being more vulnerable groups, are at higher risk and therefore a focus of our programs.”

In the midst of crises, Dr. Ahmed and his team are trying to ensure continuous, uninterrupted supply of medicines for CARE International’s 60 health facilities in the country. “We face insecurity,” he said, “as well as long distances and difficult terrain between health facilities; low technical capacity of staff; and challenges in monitoring supplies to the last mile in these fragile humanitarian settings.”

Utilizing various means to deliver commodities. Photo: CARE International.

Dr. Ahmed participated in a six-month USAID-funded mentoring program that paired him with JSI’s pharmaceutical supply chain management expert Johnnie Amenyah for support. “I discussed our supply chain challenges with my mentor and developed an action plan for how to address the disruptive security situation,” said Dr. Ahmed. “Community conflicts were preventing us from delivering health supplies regularly.”

Their plan focused on monitoring the situation to quickly identify potential disruptive situations and work with affected communities to find solutions. Dr. Ahmed and his team built support networks of community leaders to convey information and distribute health supplies during conflict situations. The plan also included ways of supporting affected health facility staff, including alternative and remote technical supervision.

Delivering commodities using carts. Photo: CARE International.

With help and guidance from Mr. Amenyah, Dr. Ahmed approached local leaders on both sides of the conflict and, enabled by local staff and community elders, was able to negotiate safe passage for the supplies to five health facilities that were at risk of losing access to life-saving medicines.

“The most important things I learned was how to be adaptive in decision making and how to use alternative options to reach the inaccessible [communities]. Working with my mentor gave me the confidence to think out of the box.”
— Dr. Ahmed

About this Story

The Building Capacity to Improve Pharmaceutical and Medical Commodity Management in Humanitarian and Disaster Settings Program helps staff from international and local nongovernmental organizations manage pharmaceutical and medical commodities by equipping them with training, guidance, resources, and follow-up support. JSI manages the project, which is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.




JSI is dedicated to improving people’s lives around the world through greater health, education, and socioeconomic equity for individuals and communities.