Tunisia to demonstrate innovative supply chain solutions for the futureby Patrick Lydon and Ibrahim Abdel Rahim, WHO A new era of immunization supply systems officially got under way on Friday, January 22, 2010, in Tunis, when the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Project Optimize formally signed a cooperative agreement. The three-year project, with a budget of US$1.75 million, will focus on five key intervention areas: 1. Demonstrate the benefits of streamlining and integrating the supply chains for vaccines, drugs, and other temperature-sensitive products between national and regional levels. 2. Demonstrate the benefits of a "Zero Energy Cost Supply Chain" below the regional level by using solar energy to generate and feed into the grid the equivalent amount of the energy required for warehousing and transportation (using electric vehicles). 3. Modernize and improve the information systems that accompany the streamlining and integration solutions listed above. 4. Develop case studies on private-sector supply chains for vaccines and understand the role the private sector might play in the future. 5. Establish policies that promote adoption and scale-up of successful Optimize interventions in Tunisia (and, where applicable, in the Eastern Mediterranean Region) and develop a national long-term vision describing how vaccine supply systems will evolve to overcome future challenges. Ultimately, Tunisia envisions a vaccine supply chain that: Is part of a single, streamlined, and integrated health supply chain supported by a rationalized and modernized health information system. In this vision, the central medical store will be responsible for the procurement, storage, and distribution of all health commodities (vaccines and temperature-sensitive products and drugs) from the national level down to regional stores via decentralized inter-regional stores. The vision is that such a supply chain system will bring efficiencies in procurement, supply, storage, distribution, stock management, and quality of services at a lower overall cost to the system. It will also increase the responsiveness of the health supply chain to routine and emergency requests (e.g., H1N1) and prepare the system for the introduction of new larger-volume higher-cost vaccines and pharmaceuticals. Uses renewable energy sources in subnational segments of the supply chain for health products that require the cold chain. In other words, all the energy requirements for regional and district stores and for the transportation of health products down to health centers would be supplied by the sun. Increases and regulates the role of the private sector in future health commodity supply to ensure that the "six rights" are respected: right products, right quantities, right places, right times, right conditions, and at the right costs.WHO and PATH are very pleased to be collaborating with the Government of Tunisia on the Optimize project and look forward to working with the motivated, visionary, and creative Tunisian team. 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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