Last week marked the seventh annual Global Health Supply Chain Summit, which brings together academics, supply chain specialists, ministry of health representatives, bi-laterals, and even private sector logisticians each year to check in, explore new ideas, report on studies, and essentially challenge each other to keep improving supply chain management in the countries where we work.
It was great to be in Copenhagen with my colleagues, and particularly with such a large contingency from VillageReach. Some of the themes that emerged from the different presentations and conversations during the week:
Linking health outcomes to supply chain performance. Many of the presentations were on different approaches and innovations to supply chain management, seeking to find efficiencies and improved health outcomes.
Sustainability. Much of the discussion centered on sustainability and the capacity of governments to manage innovations that are introduced.
Private sector engagement. One of the sessions focused on engaging the private sector to improve public sector functioning. Presentations were given on transport outsourcing, both successes and challenges of public/private partnerships.
Tools for improving supply chain management. Computer simulation modeling was highlighted in a couple of the presentations, demonstrating the utility of modeling to find efficiencies in the health system. It is also an opportunity for empowerment, where countries can begin to use this tool to discover solutions themselves.
The importance of sharing data and experiences. The organizers and participants made a call for increased data and experience sharing, both successes and failures. It was duly noted that even failures provide lessons for others in this field.
VillageReach was well represented with several presentations—the Malawi Pharmacy Assistant Training Program, the Dedicated Logistics System for the vaccine supply chain in Mozambique, the HERMES modeling experience in Mozambique, OpenLMIS, and the UN Commission tools that have been developed as part of the series: Proven and Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management.
One of the great benefits of these conferences is the opportunity to talk to people from different sectors all over the world and to learn about what other folks are doing to improve supply chain efficiencies.
About the Author: As Program Manager, Wendy Prosser is responsible for the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of health system programs for VillageReach in Mozambique. Efforts in Mozambique seek to streamline vaccine logistics with an improved logistics management information system and transport services. Wendy has over a decade of global health experience in program development and management, research and analysis, capacity building, and behavior change communications. This experience has taken her to Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Kenya, and South Africa in various public health settings, starting with Peace Corps in Cape Verde. Wendy holds a MPA in International Development and Global Health from the University of Washington.