A Qualitative Assessment of the Private Sector Antimalarial Distribution Chain in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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In Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as in many low-income countries, private commercial providers play an important role in the treatment of malaria. To design effective interventions for improved access to accurate diagnosis and effective malaria treatment, there is a need to understand retailers’ behaviour and identify the factors that influence their stocking and pricing decisions. Private commercial retailers are the last link in a chain of manufacturers, importers and wholesalers, and their supply sources are likely to have an important influence on the price and quality of malaria treatment that consumers can access. However, there is limited rigorous evidence on the structure and operation of the distribution chain for antimalarial drugs that serves the retail sector.

The ACTwatch Supply Chain Study, one of the ACTwatch project components, aims to address this gap by conducting quantitative and qualitative studies on distribution chains for antimalarials in the ACTwatch countries (Benin, Cambodia, DRC, Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia). This report presents the results from qualitative interviews with antimalarial drug wholesalers, retailers and other key stakeholders conducted in DRC between January and March 2010. To provide a complete description of the supply chain for antimalarial drugs, this report should be read in conjunction with the report on the results of the quantitative supply chain survey also conducted as part of this study [1], available at www.actwatch.info.