Partners begin effort to envision future supply chain systemsby Brent Burkholder, CDC, and Ibrahim El-Ziq, UNICEF Supply Division In November 2009 at the GAVI Alliance Partners Forum in Hanoi, a group of 43 participants sat down to discuss their vision for future supply chain systems for health. The 2025 Vision is the common platform behind which all key partners at the country, regional, and global levels can unite aligning short-term actions to achieve long-term priorities and directions. The visioning process began as a series of brainstorming discussions amongst several stakeholders with the aim of developing a vision as a working hypothesis designed to stimulate discussion and thinking. Key to its success and refinement will be the involvement, input, and guidance from all those with a vested interest in future supply chain systems. As the vision evolves, it will help define how supply chains of the future should be designed and what they need to be able to do. For example, the vision describes future supply chains as enablers of health systems rather than merely responsive to health system needs. For the supply system to be an active enabler, the system must have the ability to predict and propose changes before health needs change and have the ability to scan the technology horizon so that new innovations can be evaluated and adopted in a reasonable time frame. 2025 Vision: a working hypothesis Vision: By 2025, state-of-the-art supply systems meet the changing needs of a changing world. Objective: To enable the right vaccines to be in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, in the right condition, at the right cost. Specific steps to achieve this objective are listed below: Vaccine products and their packaging are designed with characteristics that best suit the operational needs of countries while ensuring that the highest standards of safety are maintained. Vaccine distribution systems are streamlined for maximum efficiency and are built around mechanisms that support continuous learning to improve system performance.Vaccine supply systems are integrated with the supply systems of other health programs to maximize synergies and make the best strategic links with the private sector.The environmental impact of energy, materials, and processes used in vaccine distribution systems at the national and international levels is monitored and minimized. Partners are already starting to use the vision to orient their work. Project Optimize, one of the groups involved in developing the working hypothesis for the 2025 vision, is using the 2025 vision to determine research questions in its demonstration projects, to steer the development of new systems that encourage innovation, and to support policy changes that enable the right products and systems to be adopted and scaled up. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Supply Division is another partner whose work is in line with the 2025 vision. For example, in order to streamline vaccine distribution systems to maximize efficiency, UNICEF Supply Division has developed a vaccine weight-and-volume calculator. This useful tool will be available to other partners and integrated in the UNICEF country provisional plans so countries can monitor cold storage capacity at the central level throughout the year, taking into account planned vaccine deliveries, type of vaccines, as well as buffer stocks. In December 2009, UNICEF also issued a Cold Chain Support Package, available on the UNICEF intranet. The support package is a technical and commercial guideline for countries planning to increase their cold store capacity at the central level and has the relevant links to existing World Health Organization guidelines. It covers cold rooms and freezer rooms and will soon be covering solar-powered refrigeration systems. UNICEF is further involved in "greening" the cold chain through the SolarChill refrigerator partnership and plays a roll in moving the technology forward to countries. Another collaborator, the Social, Environmental, and Economic Design and Research (SEEDR) group, in a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded collaboration with the Global Immunization Division at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is prototyping passive cold chain equipment with next-generation manufacturing and materials technologies. SEEDR is reengineering a vaccine carrier, long-range cold box, and specimen transport container using recycled materials to increase cold life, decrease container weight, and improve affordability. As evidence and findings from partners’ work is gathered, the vision statement will be revised based on what has been learned, resulting in a stronger, more informed vision for the future. We encourage all subscribers to share the vision with colleagues and contribute to the evidence base that validates or contradicts the latest thinking. For now subscribers are welcome to discuss and debate the vision here on the TechNet forum. Optimize will alert subscribers to other venues for discussion as they arise. We invite you to comment on or post a question relating to this article by clicking the "post reply" button on this page. You will have to log in or register; the process is very simple. Return to the Optimize newsletter.
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