Strong supply chain saving lives

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T Koshy
Advisory Partner, EY LLP (India)

According to the World Health Organization, more than half of the 5.9 million deaths in 2015 among children under the age of five were caused by conditions that could have been prevented or treated with access to interventions that were simple and affordable.

More research is required to devise new treatments and more money to help widen access. But if a vaccine or medicine exists and is affordable, then why are 3 million children around the world dying unnecessarily each year? And what can be done to remove the barriers to access?

A project in India highlights some of the supply chain problems that prevent the delivery of vaccines and demonstrates how they can be overcome.

Immunization in India

India’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP) is a key element of the country’s national child survival strategy.

The UIP is one of the largest programs of its type in the world. Around 30 million pregnant women, 27 million newborns and 100 million children aged 1-5 have all been helped, free of charge, under the program.

But despite all these efforts, one-third of children are left out. This is due to issues such as inadequate supply chains, gaps in cold chain management, inadequate stock, the absence of standard procedures and a lack of training.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a public-private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunization, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare are working together trying to close these gaps.

To ensure the delivery of potent and safe vaccines, the government of India has established a network of 27,000 cold chain points.

When transporting vaccines, it is critical that they remain at the correct temperature. This is maintained by transportation in cold boxes with ice packs and insulated vaccine bags. This enables delivery of vaccines in adequate quantities and quality conditions to the most remote health facilities.

EY was selected to support UNDP, which was rolling out a comprehensive solution to tackle the logistical and management challenges in India’s three largest states, covering about one third of the country’s population.

The scope has since been extended to another eight states.

Sustainable model

To deliver a replicable and scalable model, EY brought in as partners Logistimo, the developer of the eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) software and Strategic Alliance Management Service (SAMS) to support recruitment and training of field staff.

To manage this large rollout, training and support, EY established a complex organizational structure, with around 400 people deployed across 11 states.

In these states, EY will train around 15,000 people who are critical to vaccine cold chain.

This system will help to reduce the instances of stock-outs and over-stocking, leading to improved management of vaccines and cold chains.

As a result, more mothers, babies and young children will receive the vaccines that can save their lives.


For more information please contact George Atalla

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This article is excerpted from the November 2016 edition of Citizen Today. See also these featured articles: