TechNet-21 - Forum

This forum provides a place for members to ask questions, share experiences, coordinate activities, and discuss recent developments in immunization.
  1. Emma Stewart
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A well-functioning supply chain often goes unnoticed. People rarely talk about fully stocked shelves at the store or on-time delivery of a package. It’s the interruptions to the supply chain that get noticed. As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. These days, immunization supply chains (iSC)—the network of staff, equipment, vehicles, and data needed to get vaccines safely from the manufacturer to the people who need them—are the “squeaky wheel” as the global health community seeks to close the immunization gap.


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: First Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa


While gathering at the first-everMinisterial Conference on Immunization in Africa (MCIA)in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this year, supply chains formed an important part of the larger immunization conversation. TheAddis Declaration on Immunization,the official commitment signed by many African leaders at the conference, included objectives focused on addressing barriers to, and increasing effectiveness and efficiency of, vaccine delivery systems. In addition, ministers of health, parliamentarians, and other stakeholders attended a side session focused on immunization supply chains. During the session, the Ministers of Health from Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda, as well as EPI Managers from Benin and Senegal had the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons learned related to vaccine delivery. The conference was the first step in a series of country leader commitments and cross-country sharing for improving vaccine supply chains across the African continent.


Entebbe, Uganda: Eastern and Southern African Regional Meeting


In late August, logisticians and supply chain partners from 21 East and Southern African countries gathered in Entebbe, Uganda, at a meeting hosted by UNICEF to explore important supply chain topics and learn from one another. Participants from Malawi, Uganda, and Eritrea received awards as recognition of their efforts to champion supply chain improvements. Sessions structured around thefive fundamentals for next-generation supply chainsprovided deeper understanding on using data for decision-making, cold chain equipment, iSC human resource needs, and national logistics working groups. Participants learned more about the declaration stemming from MCIA and discussed strategies to build the case for increased investment and attention to supply chain issues. These local champions gained insights into how to advance their technical work by building on political commitments made by their leaders.


Amsterdam, Netherlands: Vaccine Congress: “No Products, No Programs: Why Vaccine Supply Chains Matter”


Shortly after the iSC discussion in Uganda, 10,000km away in Amsterdam, Netherlands, another high-level discussion on iSC took place at theVaccine Congress. Hosted by publisher Elsevier, the participants this time were not politicians, logisticians, or program implementers, but rather academic experts and scientists—an important constituency in this conversation. There, PATH organized a fireside chat on iSC. Panelists Raja Rao from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Heather Deehan from the UNICEF Supply Division engaged in a discussion moderated by Bruce Y. Lee from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Seth Berkley, President and CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, also joined by way ofvideo. The panel discussion entitled, “No Products, No Programs: Why Vaccine Supply Chains Matter,” engaged conference attendees on the linkages between iSC performance and programmatic success in low-and middle-income countries. This important discussion engaged scientists involved in vaccine development in the realities of vaccine delivery on the ground. It is critical that the issues communities face in safely delivering vaccines are taken into account early in the vaccine research and development process. In addition to having the people and processes in place to move vaccines to the furthest reaches of a country, it is crucial to have vaccines and related equipment that are able to sustain the journey.


“Synergies are needed for real impact to occur; it benefits everyone to establish a systems-wide approach that optimizes connections across the preclinical, clinical, post-licensure, introduction, and delivery continuum.” – Heather Deehan, UNICEF


From conversation to action


The rich conversations about iSC that are taking place around the world—among politicians, logisticians, and academics—and across the vaccine discovery to delivery continuum are very encouraging. However, actions speak louder than words. We look forward to African Union formally tabling the Addis Declaration on Immunization, and stakeholders following through on their commitments by taking up needed iSC innovations to ensure vaccines get to the children who need them.


Links for more information:


Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa:http://immunizationinafrica2016.org/


Addis Declaration on Immunization:http://immunizationinafrica2016.org/ministerial-declaration-english/


Watch global immunization leaders in Addis talk about the importance of iSC:https://youtu.be/t4h8tGCZz14


Vaccine Congress:http://www.vaccinecongress.com/


Watch remarks from Seth Berkley, President and CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance:https://youtu.be/fjPCm_cWMp8




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Attachments (1)
Emma Stewart Accepted Answer

Hi Sangeeta,

There is a push to have the declaration from MCIA, which includes supply chain elements, taken forward. Various stakeholders are working on a roadmap for how that can best happen.

Best,
Emma

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. # 1
Sangeeta Raja Accepted Answer

Thank you Brian and Emma. This is very useful.

Emma, as Brian pointed out that a sustained engagement is critical for achieving the return on investment on such engagements, so my next question is whether the group has a follow-up plan to keep the engagement going. If so, is this something that can be shared?

Thanks

Sangeeta

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. # 2
Brian Atuhaire Accepted Answer

Hi Emma, thank you for sharing this update.

Sangeeta, you raise a pertinent issue on whether these high level forums translate into needed changes. I think, having done the research on effective supply chains and required elements for such, the high level forums present a great opportunity to raise awareness among undeniably very influential high level stakeholders. Of course someone will need to follow up to ensure high level committments are implemented on ground. So, I think that is one step in the puzzel to have beneficial changes.

Thank you.

Brian

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. # 3
Emma Stewart Accepted Answer

Hi Sangeeta,

Thanks for your question. I don't have a specific example of the high level commitment from MCIA translating to action on the ground, however the aim was really to sensitize decisionmakers to the issue and get them thinking about supply chain as a critical component of the immunization program. Having high level commitment and understanding is part of a holistic approach to political change. For MCIA, the focus was more on issue visibility and agenda setting than country action, which I think speaks to your second point.

I am interested to hear from others if there are examples where MCIA or other high level awareness raising has led to a demand for better supply chains at the country level?

Best,

Emma

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. # 4
Sangeeta Raja Accepted Answer

Thank you for sharing this information. I am curious to know whether this high level commitment by Ministers of Health has resulted in any movement on the ground in terms of financing for supply chains, or request for redesign of supply chain systems? I am trying to assess whether these types of forums actually move the needle on (a) demand for better supply chains, (b) awareness on the importance of supply chain for delivering its mission.

 

Thanks

 

Sangeeta

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. # 5


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