Forecasting and quantification

Forecasting and quantification is a very important step in the supply chain cycle, because through that method programme managers and supply chain professionals make an educated guess about the magnitude of future demand and determine the amount of products to be procured. Broadly speaking forecasting is the method whereby historical consumption data and demographic data are used to predict future consumption of contraceptives, including condoms. Quantification can be understood as the step that follows from forecasting as the estimation of the precise quantities of commodities that are needed against available funds, and at what time, for a programme to have commodity security, in the form of uninterrupted supply. Inadequate F&Q can lead to stock-outs which may force couples to switch methods against their will and possibly abandon the FP programme. Shortage of supplies may also affect long-term demand for FP in a country.

The quantification process links information from the service delivery points to national data on product lead time, shipment schedules and availability of financing to determine the best way to procure enough supplies to achieve programme goals.

Ideally forecasting and quantification should not be an annual or quarterly exercise but rather, a process of continuous updating.

F&Q is usually divided into short term and long term F&Q (over several years). The methods used are similar, but the first one is used most often to determine the immediate logistical and tactical needs of the health system, whereas the latter has a more strategic aim in mind and can be used for strategic purposes such as planning and market shaping.

Data used for conducting forecasting is similar to that used by other health commodities except that for contraceptives, the morbidity method is not used. The types of data are: Consumption data, data for the services and demographic data. If the quality of the data permits a separate forecast should be done for each product using different datasets. The exact method used in forecasting is determined by the type of data being used.

While the process of F&Q is heavily quantitative driven, F&Q is as much an art as a science. The numbers needs to be interpreted in line with programmatic realities and it is important that staff dealing with procurement and supply chain are involved early in the process to provide advice on lead times and other bottlenecks that can interrupt supply, and that the results of the quantification is immediately disseminated to those persons responsible to procuring the products.

In the following there is list of resources from UNFPA and development partners detailing the process of F&Q in much more detail as well as providing links to different types of software being used. Different country contexts such as the presence of other development partners as well as the availability and quality of data determine the methods and software being used.

For an introductory course on procurement and supply chain for pharmaceuticals which includes F&Q, please consider accessing the PCSM from UNDP.

UNFPA resources :  For updated key demographics indicators that can be used for forecasting and quantification, please consult the MDG5 b+ info

Quantification Guidance

Quantification of Health Commodities: RMNCH Supplement Forecasting Consumption of Select Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Commodities

This guide will assist program managers, service providers, and technical experts when conducting a quantification of commodity needs for the 13 reproductive, maternal, newborn, andchild health commodities prioritized by the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. This quantification supplement should be used with the main guide Quantification of Health Commodities: A Guide to Forecasting. This supplement describes the steps in forecasting consumption of these supplies when consumption and service data are not available; after which, to complete the quantification, the users should refer to the main quantification guide for the supply planning step.

A Forecasting Guide for New & Underused Methods of Family Planning (Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition)

This guide provides direction to programs that want to forecast for new and underused methods of family supports program managers and others involved in forecasting as they plan to

(1) introduce a contraceptive technology for the first time in a country, and/or

(2) position an underused method for scale up.

The guide recognizes that accurate forecasts take into account the larger system into which the methods will be introduced and scaled, and it offers a framework for building rational assumptions to support accurate forecasting for new or underused methods or any family planning method where future demand is inherently difficult to predict. It also identifies common pitfalls in forecasting and recommends strategies to avoid them.


CHANNEL is a computer software program for managing health supplies. The system allows individual warehouses to track their supply stock as soon as commodities enter or leave storage, and to generate simple reports and requests. To ensure that the program would meet the needs of local health ministries, research and development for CHANNEL was performed with the active participation and involvement of local governments. The software is meant to automate the data collection and reporting requirements of the facilities at which it is used, while assisting and encouraging good practices in logistics and supply management. Any number and type of commodities can be managed by the system, including essential drugs, vaccines, and medical supplies. This make the software flexible and suitable to accommodate management of health supplies in general.

CHANNEL is user-friendly enough for locations where computer skills and capacity are minimal, while capturing the most critical information about health supply stocks in order to avoid stock-outs. It is currently being piloted in health supply warehouses in 20 countries. For training in use of this tool, or to download the software, contact Joseph Abraham.

Country Commodity Manager

UNFPA has developed a user-friendly service to help countries keep track of stocks and shipments,
identify possible shortages, and replenish stockpiles to meet growing needs on a timely basis. Launched in 2003, the Country Commodity Manager (CCM) is now being used by more than 95 developing countries. At the touch of a computer key, the system can call up displays of available stock and commodity needs. The software has alerted governments to — and helped them avert — potential shortfalls. For training in use of this tool, or to download updates, contact Joseph Abraham.

Download PDF English - Español - Français - العربية - Русский

This is the downloadable manual in five languages to accompany the Country Commodity Manager (CCM), a software program that helps UNFPA Country Offices assess their reproductive health commodity requirements, stock positions and identify shortfalls. CCM also provides a mechanism to readily transmit each country's data to UNFPA headquarters from their country offices for use in generating global level reports for the purposes of planning, advocacy and resource mobilization.

  •   Resources from USAID :  

The PPMR, the Procurement Planning and Monitoring Report (PPMR) describe stock status of contraceptive products on a country-by-country basis. It is produced monthly by the USAID | DELIVER Project for the Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive health supplies (CARhs) group at the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC).

To access the tool you need to login or register if you are a first-time user.

 Botswana: Condom Programming; National Quantification and Supply Chain Strengthening

 Estimation of Unmet Medical Need for Essential Maternal Health Medicines

  • Resources from JSI :  

 Quantification of Health Commodities: A Guide to Forecasting
 Quantification of Health Commodities Contraceptive Companion
 Contraceptive Forecasting Handbook for Family Planning and HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs


Using quantification to support introduction and expansion of long-acting and permanent methods of contraception

People that Deliver, USAID and UNICEF already supports the logisticians network in the form of the international Association of Public Health Logisticians. They have an active community which you can participate in by e-mail, please consider joining here