A new report has been released that updates information on the occurrence of home-based record (e.g, vaccination cards, child health books) stock-outs. The open access article can be accessed online, and is also attached here.
Similar to vaccine stock-outs, disruptions in the supply chain of home-based records (HBRs) are avoidable events that create inefficiencies for immunization service delivery. Several key words there: DISRUPTIONS, AVOIDABLE, INEFFICIENCIES. Following a review of data on HBR stock-outs reported by national immunization programmes, the new report highlights several important themes.
First, many programmes confront on-going challenges with ensuring the availability of a durable HBRs in the right place, at the right time and in the right quantity. In 2016, 29 countries reported a national-level HBR stock-out, more than in 2015 or 2014.
Second, some programmes appear to not have mechanisms in place to monitor and track the HBR supply chain. During 2016, one-third of countries reporting to WHO failed to report whether a stock-out did or did not occur. Whether countries lack this information; have the information, but not in a readily accessible form for reporting; or are choosing not to report information on supply levels when information exists is unclear.
And lastly, HBR financing and printing are complex processes that often involve the national immunization programme and its many partners. In 2016, 44 countries reported two or more HBR funding sources and 22 countries shared responsibility for printing HBRs. It is very possible that these complex financing arrangements may be associated with the occurrence of HBR stock-outs.
Immunization programmes are encouraged to take time to evaluate their HBR system along with their partners in the Ministry of Health if immunization and nutrition along with other maternal and/or child health programmes share responsibility. Resources from a prior workshop are available to help guide the evaluation. Let's work together to critically assess the HBR system in each of our countries and identify and implement appropriate, sustainable solutions.