Demonstrating technologies and system interventions
Delivery teams may also include a supervisor and cold chain technician to provide supportive supervision to health care workers and ensure that the equipment is running efficiently.
In the last ten years, Senegal has successfully increased vaccine coverage, expanding important immunizations to children across the country. However, the country’s vaccine supply chain has now reached its saturation point, making it difficult to introduce new vaccines that require robust systems for transportation and storage. In response to these challenges, project Optimize, a collaboration between the World Health Organization and PATH, is working with the Senegal Ministry of Health to identify vaccine supply system interventions that can be piloted now in preparation for the next 10 to 15 years.
Our work is proceeding in two phases. First, we evaluated Senegal’s existing supply system and made recommendations for strengthening the supply chain as more vaccines and health products are introduced in the country. Now we are collaborating with the Senegal Ministry of Health on a demonstration project that could serve as a model for the entire country.
Through this collaboration, the Senegal Ministry of Health is evaluating a new integrated supply chain model in the Saint Louis region. The project aims to ensure that vaccines and other health commodities are consistently maintained at appropriate stock levels. If these interventions are determined feasible, the Ministry of Health intends to scale up the work and a road map for scale-up is currently being developed. In addition, the Optimize team is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to establish a long-term vision for the supply and logistics systems of other immunization and health care services.
A “moving warehouse” would be composed of delivery teams that would visit each health facility, check stock levels, and replenish as needed.
Our approach includes the following activities:
- Integration of the supply chains for public-sector vaccines, drugs, and other health products from the central to regional level, managed by the National Procurement Pharmacy (PNA).
- Demonstration of a “moving warehouse” operated by the Regional Supply Pharmacy and the Saint Louis office of the PNA and staffed with delivery teams that bypass the district storage level to visit health facilities directly, replenishing stock and providing technical assistance and supportive supervision as needed.
- Testing a logistics management information system that links moving warehouse operations information to existing information systems, enabling fast and accurate flows of data from district to regional and central levels.
- Improving the reliability of vaccine storage at both the regional level and at hard-to-reach health posts through the implementation of a hybrid solar and grid-electric system, including solar battery free refrigerators with remote temperature monitoring alarm systems to power the regional vaccine store.
- Modeling the supply system in order to generate cost data and simulate various supply chain scenarios for the future.
Benefits to the country and region
We anticipate this approach will provide several benefits to Senegal and the surrounding region, including:
- A single, integrated health supply chain that is information driven, distribution based, and streamlined to manage all public-sector vaccines, drugs, and other health products from the central to peripheral levels.
- A cold chain that uses extensive solar energy, improving its quality and environmental impact while reducing fossil fuel dependency.
- A better understanding of policies and processes critical for scaling up demonstrated technologies, systems, and practices to make the supply system in Senegal more robust and agile in the future to accommodate new vaccine introduction.
- Lessons learned that can guide the development of a new vision of health service support systems in Senegal and throughout the African region.
As we draw on Senegal’s past immunization program successes, this project will help the country continue to provide lifesaving vaccines and the benefits of innovative supply chain management technologies, systems, and practices to its population for the next several years.
Photos, from top: PATH, World Health Organization/Michel Zaffran.