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Resources for mapping the "last mile" supply chain for therapeutic food

This question was posted the Management of wasting/acute malnutrition forum area and has 5 replies.

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Lani Trenouth

Normal user

3 Feb 2021, 23:57

I'm looking for any suggestions for resources or tools to facilitate the mapping of the in-country supply chain for therapeutic foods (RUTF, RUSF, CSB++, locally manufactured therapeutic food etc.) in order to facilite a cost estimate of in-country distribution and warehousing.

What I'd like to do is trace the supply chain from the port-of-entry or place of production in a country through to the treatment site where the food is provided to a carer. From the port-of-entry or production site, there will be a series of cascading "nodes" (warehouses) to which the product is sent through different "links" which are the modes of transport between the nodes. There will be different costs associated with warehousing the food at each node and costs to transporting the food by land, water or air along a link from one node to another.

Any suggestions or examples of how this has been done in the past would be greatly appreciated!

Dr. James Oloyede

Nutrition Coordinator

Normal user

4 Feb 2021, 11:28

Usually, UNICEF is the largest supplier of RUTF in some countries.  For instance, in Nigeria UNicef has a compendium of list of approved international and local manufacturers/suppliers and I do hope such doument might be available in your country if you approach UNICEF or other major UN organization such as WFP.  The document in each country include offshore and onshore approved suppliers and the cost.

Philip James

Senior Technical Associate, ENN

Frequent user

10 Feb 2021, 12:23

Hi Lani,

I remember reading a supply chain analysis done some time back. The reference is:

Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods for the Horn of Africa: The Nutrition Articulation Project by Anthony So (Duke) and Jayashankar Swaminathan (UNC)

It might be worth googling to see if you can find a pdf document, in case there are some methods there you could replicate / adapt?

Good luck!

Lani Trenouth

Normal user

15 Feb 2021, 20:59

Thank you both for your responses.

The main challenge I'm facing is that all information I've found so far focuses on the international component of the transportation and distribution network. Nothing I've found as of yet helps to describe the in-country portion of the network. I'm hoping to avoid duplicating work that has likely already been done in certain countries and to learn from what has already been done by people smarter than me.

I've seen some private sector solutions for supply chain mapping, but they are too complex for what I'm trying to achieve, and are also costly.

The Global Logistics Cluster provided me with a link to logistics capacity assessments, and while the data provided there would be a useful resource for data collection, it also doesn't provide a solution for in-country distribution network mapping.

I'd be happy to hear from others who also think that the 'black box' of the last mile in-country supply chain for RUTF and other therapeutic foods is worth unpacking. It seems to me that a lack of understanding (and budget allocation) of this step in the management of acute malnurition contributes to localized supply chain interruptions.


Frequent user

16 Feb 2021, 09:39

Hi Lani, 

I certainly don't know of exactly what you are looking for, but when I interviewed WFP and UNICEF country offices for costing info, they did have some quite detailed estimates for in-country transport and storage - not sure how they get to these numbers - but might be worth seeing if you can speak to someone there. WFP South Sudan seemed especially knowledgeable on their costs and logistics - although, I must admit, alot of what they talked about was international logistics since they were importing RUSF from Rwanda. 

In research, I know the 4 foods study by USAID did very detailed data collection and mapping of the in-country transportation costs - I think Stacy actually rode with the food from the port to the warehouse etc ! So might be worth trying to talk to that team :  

Good luck! Tash 


Normal user

13 Mar 2024, 07:44

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