Abstract from an article written by our EPI Ghana team. Comments are welcome!
For the full article please go to: http://www.sciforschenonline.org/journals/vaccines/article-data/IJVI-1-104/IJVI-1-104.pdf
Background: WHO and UNICEF supported Ghana to conduct Effective Vaccine Management (EVM) assessments in September 2010 and October 2014 respectively with the view to strengthening vaccine and logistics management for immunization at all levels in the country. In both assessments, temperature monitoring, which is a critical indicator for vaccine potency and immunization programme effectiveness, got very low scores of 50% (2010) and 67% (2014) respectively at the national level and even lower at the regional level. The low scores of temperature monitoring at the national and regional levels in both assessments generated concern and interest for review of the results of the two assessments to determine some of the contributing factors considering Ghana’s advancement in immunization with support of the Gavi Alliance and also with twelve antigens in the routine immunization programme.
Objective: The main objective of the review was to determine causes of the poor performance of the temperature monitoring and to devise strategies to improve on it.
Methods: Desk review of relevant documents including 2010 and 2014 EVM assessment reports, the report of the 2012 comprehensive EPI Review and the status of implementation of recommendations of the 2010 EVM assessment and the 2012 EPI Review was conducted.
Results: The documents review revealed that the 2010 EVM assessment and the 2012 EPI Review recommended installation of continuous electronic temperature monitoring devices in the national and regional vaccine stores but it has not been implemented. The same recommendation has again been made from the 2014 EVM assessment.
Conclusions: There was no significant improvement in the scores of temperature monitoring between the 2010 (50%) and 2014 (67%) assessment because of the failure of the Immunization Programme to implement the recommendations of the previous assessment (2010) and the EPI Review (2012) which called for installation of the continuous electronic temperature monitoring devices in the national and regional vaccine stores. Not until the continuous electronic temperature monitoring devices are installed, the scores of temperature monitoring will forever remain low in any future assessment. The question is why use limited resources to conduct EVM assessment if the recommendations to address key challenges of the immunization programme are not to be implemented? Countries conducting EVM in future should make plans to implement the recommendations from the outcome. This is the only way there can be improvement in the immunization programme. Periodic EVM assessment is essential to keep the supply chain system at the required standard.
Keywords: Effective Vaccine Management (EVM); EPI; Temperature monitoring; Ghana