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Pharmaniaga plans supply chain upgrade to improve rural coverage
Published on: Saturday, June 03, 2023
By: Reshna Reem Ganesan, FMT
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Pharmaniaga plans supply chain upgrade to improve rural coverage
Pharmaniaga delivers a variety of medicines to clinics across the country, particularly to rural areas.
KUCHING: Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Pharmaniaga Berhad, is planning to enhance its supply chain to ensure more efficient delivery of medical supplies to healthcare facilities across the country, particularly to rural areas, according to corporate communications director Zuhri Iskandar Kamarzaman.

He said in Sarawak, Pharmaniaga uses vans, trucks, four-wheel drives and boats to transport medical supplies to all public hospitals and clinics in the 12 administrative divisions, adding that despite the challenges the logistics company was still able to deliver on time.

“The challenges include challenging logging routes, landslides, damage to vehicles, and low river levels, but we remain committed to ensuring that all Sarawak residents have access to healthcare.

“We strive to deliver within 10 working days,” he said at the Pharmaniaga logistics and distribution centre in Kuching.

He added that improvements to the company’s infrastructure and facilities are currently in the planning phase.

Pharmaniaga routinely transports medicines to clinics in barely accessible and remote areas such as Nanga Merit, three hours from Kapit.

Crucial drugs in demand include paracetamol, high blood pressure pills and medicines that need to be kept cool, such as vaccines.

Medicines which require cold storage must be delivered within 48 hours in a box secured with air pillow packaging, ice packs and a cold chain monitoring device to ensure the temperatures are maintained.

“If the device turns blue (from white) that means the medicine can no longer be used and Pharmaniaga will have to bear the costs,” he said.

The 700km journey from Kuching to Kapit takes about 10 hours. Then, there is a boat ride across Sungai Rajang to get to Klinik Kesihatan Nanga Merit.

Tuai Rumah (longhouse chief) Pius Anak Lagon said the clinic has been open for 73 years and has served more than 2,000 people from about 20 villages along the river.

He said before Pharmaniaga came into the picture, medicines would take about a month to arrive.

“Now it takes about two weeks and we are grateful that it’s much faster,” he said.

Pharmaniaga currently employs 500 people in 15 logistics and distribution centres throughout the country, including in Selangor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak. The company also operates more than 300 vehicles, making 450,000 deliveries a year.

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