An effective supply chain ensures the six rights for product distribution and is essential for programme success, without it programmes cannot succeed and survive. These rights are: the right product; in the right quantity; in the right condition; in the right place; at the right time; for the right cost.
The term "supply chain" describes the many organizations that are linked in the delivery of commodities from manufacturers to where they are needed (clients or service delivery points) and in the flow of information about clients' RMNCH needs. Similarly, the term "pipeline" refers to the flow of commodities (supplies) through storage and transportation facilities, including port facilities, central and regional warehouses, district and sub-district stores, to service delivery points and ultimately to clients. In practice, the terms "supply chain management" and "logistics" are often used interchangeably and often are used to cover distribution systems after commodities are procured. An important variant of the supply chain is the cold chain.
A well-maintained cold chain is essential for safe and effective delivery of immunization services and certain other essential RMNCH commodities including oxytocics. An improperly functioning cold chain can lead to wasted vaccines and other heat labile commodities, missed opportunities to immunize due to lack of vaccines, and children receiving vaccines that do not protect them as intended or that actually make them sick, or ineffective treatment for women with post partum haemorrhage. Problems with aging or insufficient cold chain equipment, as well as with transport and storage, have become more urgent as new and more expensive vaccines are being introduced.