oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - Optimising the laboratory supply chain : the key to effective laboratory services : original research

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2225-2002
  • E-ISSN: 2225-2010



The Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) is a contract managed under the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM) consortium by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). SCMS procures commodities for programmes supported by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). From 2005 to mid-2012, PEPFAR, through SCMS, spent approximately $384 million on non-pharmaceutical commodities. Of this, an estimated $90m was used to purchase flow cytometry technology, largely for flow cytometry platforms and reagents.

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the cost differences between low, medium and high utilisation rates of common CD4 testing instruments that have been procured though PEPFAR funding.
A scale of costs per test as a function of test volume through the machine was calculated for the two most common CD4 testing machines used in HIV programmes: Becton Dickinson (BD) FACSCount™ and BD FACSCalibur™. Instrument utilisation data collected at the facility level in three selected countries were then used to calculate the on-site cost-per-test experienced in each country.
Cost analyses indicated that a target of at least 40% utilisation for FACSCount™ and 15% utilisation for FACSCalibur™, respectively, closely approach maximal per-test cost efficiency. The average utilisation rate for CD4 testing instruments varies widely by country, level of laboratory and partner (0% - 68%).
Our analysis indicates that, because cost-per-test is related inversely to sample throughput, the underutilisation of flow cytometry machines is resulting in an increase in average cost-per-test for many instruments.

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