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Improving Drug Shops’ Management through Innovative Training Approaches

Geneviève Sija has owned a drug shop in Toliara, Madagascar since 1993. She also manages a guest house in the same location to earn additional income.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Improving Market Partnerships and Access to Commodities Together (IMPACT) program had been providing inventory management and bookkeeping training to drug shop owners since 2019, but in 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 travel restrictions severely limited the number of in-person classes that the project could offer. Given how unreliable internet access can be in the remote areas where many drug shops are located, offering the training online was not feasible.

The IMPACT team found an innovative solution to this problem: they recorded a narrated version of the training slides and shipped DVDs and flash drives, as well as printed training materials, to drug shops in selected regions. Geneviève received a video kit and took the training course in April 2021. When the IMPACT team visited her drug shop in September 2022, they found that she had been closely following the training instructions and using the management tools provided in the kit.

Geneviève Sija fills in the daily ledger
Geneviève Sija fills in the daily ledger.

Since May 2021, Geneviève has been completing the daily ledger, notating all sales and expenses for each day. She uses the profitability analysis log which allows her to determine her monthly income and the profit generated by the drug shop. Geneviève commented on her success with the tools saying, “Thanks to the regular and systematic use of these ledgers, I was able to do a more in-depth analysis of the drugs most sought after, and I try not to run out of them.”

According to Geneviève, the explanations in the video were clear, allowing her to follow them easily. The use of management tools is simple but requires a lot of rigor and discipline at the beginning. If the drug shop owner is organized, it should be straightforward. “These tools provide better visibility for the management of the drug shop and will create a dashboard for the years to come,” said Geneviève.

Since she found this practice worthwhile and profitable, Geneviève decided to use the tools for all her other income-generating activities.