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Apr 25, 2024   |   Blog Post

Next Generation Supply Chain+: An Integrated Approach to Reach UHC

next generation supply chain
The head nurse drives a CHW to raise awareness of a vaccination event in the Lusanga health district, Kwilu, DRC. Photo credit: Wolff Mugos

By VillageReach

Originally published in the VillageReach 2023 Annual Impact Report, “Running the Race, Together.” 

Five years ago, something stirred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa’s second-largest country. A plan to rapidly boost childhood immunization formed around the realization that “routine is the new emergency.” Drawing upon the legacy of former Minister of Health Leonard Mashako Mamba, who signed DRC’s first vaccine support request, local and global forces joined together to transform health service delivery, supply and demand, management and data quality. The Mashako Plan was born.

The plan was simple. Access to vaccines and other health products could be radically improved by tackling vaccine management issues in key health zones. VillageReach started work in two remote provinces, Equateur and Tshuapa, expanding that support to six provinces in 2022. The Next Generation Supply Chain (NGCA+ in DRC solution) supercharges the fight for universal health coverage through integrated supply chain strengthening to reach communities at the last mile.

The strategy involves more than simply distributing health products directly. It supplements existing health supply chains with innovative delivery methods such as drones and private-sector transporters. The supply chain is digitized to track distribution and warehousing in real-time. This allows for swift course corrections from manufacturing to the last mile. Moreover, it provides community health workers with the knowledge and resources they need to effectively immunize and treat their communities.

The results speak for themselves. In 2023, our work with provincial authorities in Haut-Lomami, Kwilu, Lualaba and Maindombe was honored in the name of President Felix Tshisekedi at the National Forum on Vaccination and Polio Eradication as distinguished examples of performance to Kinshasa Declaration and Mashako Plan targets. By increasing immunization rates from some of the lowest nationally to among the highest, we are reducing outbreaks and curbing the spread of diseases, saving lives. By ensuring equitable access to immunization, even in the most challenging settings, we can build a healthier future for all.

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