News

Not All Stockouts Are Created Equal

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver

A stockout is an event that causes inventory to be exhausted. It can be caused by shortage from a supplier, defective shelf replenishment practices, and many other causes. They are quite common in low- and middle income countries, so much so that most residents of these places have adapted to the occurrence. But what happens when you have a stockout of something that is absolutely irreplaceable? Something like, contraceptives.

An empty shelf if everyone’s problem. That is the mantra of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition’s (RHSC) newest campaign - Take Stock – which aims to take action against contraceptive stockouts. TakeStock - which aims to take action against contraceptive stockouts. TakeStock will mobilize public health leaders, facilitate the development of a common language we can all use to talk about stockouts, and gather commitments needed to spur real action. When a woman leaves a clinic empty handed there is a ripple effect that takes place. Without the right contraceptive supplies you are affecting her community, her country, and her loved ones.

We know that investing in family planning could help the lives of 225 million women in developing countries. The lack of family planning contributes to almost 28 million unplanned births each year, as well as 74 million unplanned pregnancies. Financial issues, stigma, and gaining consent from their spouse or parent are just the beginnings of the barriers that women face when it comes to accessing contraception. This is why issues of stockouts roots much deeper than just a supply chain failure.

Over 30 partners have already joined RHSC and their movement to make stockouts a thing of the past. In order to help girls and women, we must supply them with the tools they need in order to live health and stable lives. By joining RHSC we are ensuring: fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer unsafe abortions, lower rates of maternal mortality, healthier families, and healthier economies.

For more information on Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition visit their website here. To get involved with Take Stock and ensure that shelves are never empty visit here.

photo c/o Gates Foundation

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