Careers at UNICEF

Careers at UNICEF


Consultant for Supply Chain Assessment of Zinc and ORS in Bihar

Location: Patna and 4 identified districts of Bihar

Duration: 4.5 months

Closing Date: 10 March 2014


Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of under-five mortality in India. To achieve lower morbidity and mortality among under five children WHO and UNICEF have recommended combination of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and Zinc as part of the revised diarhroea management guidelines. India has a national policy in place since November 2006 which recommends the use of zinc as adjuvant to ORS in the treatment of diarrhoea. The policy emphasizes that: (i) zinc tablets are to be made available in all parts of the country, including anganwadi centres; (ii) zinc is to be made available as an over-the-counter (OTC) formulation; (iii) an effective communication strategy is to be implemented; and (iv) health care providers are to be oriented and trained in the use of zinc along with ORS.

Revised diarrhoea management guidelines have been developed for promoting zinc and ORS. Further, Government of India has ensured supply of zinc tablets to sub-centres across the country as part of KIT A supplies. Although the national policy is in place, scale-up of zinc supplementation is yet to happen because of varied reasons including need for capacity building of health and allied personnel, awareness generation among community and adopting mechanisms to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of zinc and ORS to institutions and the community level. The proposed assignment is to study the existing systems and practices in Zinc ORS supply chain management in the state of Bihar and help the government to revamp the supply chain management for sustainable scale-up of zinc and ORS treatment.




a)         Study the effectiveness of systems and procedures of supply chain adopted within the Government System (Health Department) for procurement and delivery of products and its use by the end users.

b)         Identify gaps and bottlenecks within the system resulting in poor delivery or misuse at the level of end users or at other stages.

c)         Document good practices for replication in other departments and other states.

d)         Recommend mechanisms for strengthening systems for effective supply chain management at each stage to minimize delay /loss until the product reaches the end users.



Procurement and supply chain management are an essential aspect of ensuring good quality and adequate supplies. The existing delivery channels within of public health system  for Zinc and ORS include district and sub-district hospitals, block primary health centres, additional primary health centres, sub-centres, and village-level distribution points like anganwadis and ASHAs.

There are conventional systems and procedures being followed with sanction from the state and district authorities. Most often the effectiveness of systems and procedures are dependent to the accountability, dedication and responsiveness of the individuals who manage the supply chain. Therefore, scope of the study should include all such aspects related to procurement and supply chain management.




Secondary data review – Supply Chain Management 

Quantitative supply chain data from each of the stakeholders will be collected by requesting the necessary descriptive documents and spreadsheets. Using the supply chain data supplied by SHSB the following will be analyzed:


-  Desk review of the assessment done related to procurement of ORS and zinc in Bihar

-  Lead time length and on-time delivery

-  Distribution and modes of transport for health supplies

-  Warehousing arrangements and management


Findings from these analyses will be described in the Assessment report.


Field visits


Meet with participants involved in the essential health commodities including  Zinc ORS supply chain at state, district and field level and conduct interviews with personnel associated with procurement & supply chain in SHSB, district, facility, and primary health center, sub centre and community depot level. If required a workshop may be organized with all stakeholders to gain feedback on preliminary findings and to further explore the supply chain processes. This will assist stakeholders to clarify their understanding of the supply chain and identify major bottlenecks and challenges being encountered in the supply chain of essential health commodities including Zinc and ORS both now and the probability in the future.


Participants in data collection


SHSB, DHS, FRU, Block PHC, HSC, VHSND & Community Depot Holder (ASHA)


Both at facility and field level interviews will be conducted to collect quantitative data of essential health supplies including Zinc ORS and analyzed the accessibility and availability at various levels. The objective of the field visits will be to identify the main supply chain bottlenecks and risks in different supply contexts, not to collect sufficient supply chain data for statistical analysis. Therefore, the selection of places will be risk-based and will focus on identifying the gaps. Interview schedule and checklists will be used as tools for recording the interviews.







a. Review and document the existing procurement process for zinc and ORS at state and district levels.


b. Identify gaps, if any, in the procurement of zinc and ORS and recommend for government consideration


c. Suggest mechanisms for improvements in the procurement mechanism for ensuring timely and prompt purchase of zinc and ORS – including creating a toolkit for the government’s use in forecasting supplies well in advance


d. Understand and provide an overview of the potential impact of anticipated future changes to Bihar government on procurement process




a.         Review and document the existing supply chain mechanism for distribution and transport of zinc and ORS from state and district levels to various channels of public health as mentioned earlier.

b.         Review and document the existing supply chain mechanism for storage and warehousing of zinc and ORS at the state, district and facility levels

c.         Review and document district level supply chain blueprints including forecasting and inventory management and monitoring tools.

d.         Identify key supply chain bottlenecks and challenges in the logistics process of zinc and ORS such as adherence to rate contract, rigid criteria for selecting suppliers, lack of individual accountabilities, poor storage and erratic transport system, wrong methods in estimation of demand and buffer stock, irregular indention, poor tracking mechanism etc. with corrective measures for improvement.

e.         Recommend mechanisms to ensure perennial adequacy of zinc and ORS at all public health channels for government’s consideration.




Obtaining actionable solutions based on a thorough understanding of procurement and supply chain management system. The following outputs are expected under this:


a. Detailed report on status of current supply chain management of zinc and ORS in Bihar.


b. Recommendations to improve a supply chain management system to ensure perennial adequacy of zinc and ORS at all public health channels.


c. Detailed report on existing procurement mechanism of zinc and ORS


d. Recommendations for streamlining of procurement system to ensure timely and prompt purchase of zinc and ORS at state and district levels.


e. Toolkit for use by the district-level to forecast demand, monitoring of inventory and ensure timely flow of product (Zinc and ORS) at the district level.


f. Technical specifications for zinc and ORS procurement.


g. Prepare a state-level roadmap to implement the recommendations to improve zinc and ORS procurement and supply chain management.




An individual with post graduate degree in health and allied sciences, management, social sciences with at least 7-10 years of relevant experience in supply chain management. The selected consultant should have a track record of at least seven years in supply chain diagnostics in India or countries with similar parameters of interest. Possible areas of expertise include value chain analysis, business advisory services, capacity building and social entrepreneurship. Experience in district level administration in the govt. sector, including working with the district/sub-district level health systems, implementation of health programmes in the govt. or NGO sector at the district level, good knowledge of government policies and programs are essential.


Additional staffing requirements will be left to the contractor to determine based on the methodology and approach proposed. For example, the consultant may wish to engage a medical doctor to provide sector-specific support as appropriate. Excellent communication skills in English and Hindi, both oral and written, good computer skills, especially in MS office and internet and strong documentation , report writing and presentation skills are highly desirable for this assignment.




(1)        Qualified female/male candidates are requested to please indicate their ability and availability to undertake the terms of reference above.


(2)        We request you to please inform us where you have seen this advertisement.


(3)        Your application should be sent to by COB 10 March 2014 with subject line "Consultant for Supply Chain Assessment of Zinc and ORS in Bihar" in separate files consisting of:


a)         An application letter, CV and P11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at

b)         A financial proposal in PDF format indicating deliverable based fee as per template attached.  Please mention your name in the file name while saving. (Download)


 (4)       The selection will be on the basis of technical evaluation & financial proposal in the ratio of 70:30.


(5)        Only short-listed candidates will be called for written test/interview (if applicable). 


(6)        The financial proposals of only those candidates, who are found technically responsive, will be opened.


(7)        Any attempt to unduly influence UNICEF’s selection process will lead to automatic disqualification of the applicant.

(8)        Joint applications of two or more individuals are not accepted.

(9)        Please note, UNICEF does not charge any fee during any stage of the process.



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