Challenges related to high and hidden costs of vaccine management remain in many countries and are a significant contributory factor to 20 million children remaining unimmunised
Copyright UNICEF/2012/Tom Pietrasik
Challenges related to high and hidden costs of vaccine management remain in many countries and are a significant contributory factor to 20 million children remaining unimmunised.
The contribution of poor vaccine management is at least “a third of the problem” according to an expert on vaccine supply chain.
Systematic vaccine temperature monitoring could dramatically improve the effectiveness of vaccines being administered.
It is estimated that significant proportion of vaccines are still being damaged through freezing during transportation and storage. The mandated use of cheap and effective (and re-usable) freeze tags, which track the temperature exposure of any shipments could greatly resolve this, according to WHO and UNICEF.
Reducing health systems costs with new cold chain technologies is crucial.
It was pointed out that reliance on the traditional kerosene or gas powered fridges has a finite time limit as the current supplier is phasing out production.
Since 60% of fridges used for vaccine storage in the African continent do not have access to constant and reliable electricity sources, developments in solar powered fridges, which will be essential for storage of vaccines in the future, are rapidly progressing.
The benefits of improving data flows for stock management using new technology, such as web-interfaces with a central system via the internet and mHealth opportunities, were stressed.
Creating sustainable systems and economic opportunities through outsourcing is also being considered, for example in Kenya.
The session ended with a strong encouragement for further discussions to be held on innovative supply chain technologies and continued sharing of country experiences.