By Chioma Obinna
To reverse the worrisome state of vaccine cold chain in Nigeria, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain in Nigeria, ARC, an independent advisor and strategic partner founded by the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, is brokering States and Private sector partnerships to strengthen vaccine cold chain infrastructure in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Knowledge Sharing and Hackathon Workshop on Supply Chain organised by ARC Nigeria, NPHCDA and Solina Group, which brought together over 80 Ministry of Health Directors and Immunization Managers from Borno, Sokoto, Osun, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Yobe and Niger states, Executive Secretary, Osun State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr. Kayode Ogunniyi said that the survival of Nigeria as a nation depends on the quality of healthcare that is giving to children, particularly, the under-5 that constitutes 20 percent of the total population.
According to Dr. Ogunniyi “Giving them the right vaccines at the right time is a strategy to secure their wellbeing. A robust knowledge of vaccine supply chain with a view to protecting vaccine integrity from the manufacturers to the administration to the child is a task that must be done.
Programme Manager, Immunisation Vaccine and Logistics, Niger State, Dr. Samuel Jiya, noted that the workshop has created a platform that will strengthen Public-Private Partnerships in the Immunisation and Vaccine space in Nigeria.
“It has facilitated direct engagement of players in the Private sector and public wing. Personally, for Niger State, we have outlined our challenges and proffer new innovations in tackling them.”
Sharing private sector engagement experience in healthcare, Project Last Mile Delivery Lead, BMGF, Mr. Trip Allport, disclosed that the Project Last Mile , PLM, which is an initiative of BMGF in partnership with Coca Cola is an example of how the private sector is engaging with the public sector to develop an innovative solution with the aim of providing access to essential medicines and medical supplies in African.
“Project Last Mile, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is proud to support Nigeria in strengthening the vaccine cold chain, tapping into the capabilities of The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partner, the Nigerian Bottling Company.
We believe we can contribute to a marked improvement to maintaining a functional vaccine cold chain, meaning more children will have effective vaccines available at the point of care.
Over the past couple of months, PLM has been developing the programme concept and framework with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, at Federal level and plans to now pilot a new model of cold chain equipment maintenance at the State level with Lagos State in 2017/18, and if successful, will endeavor to expand this support to other states in Nigeria.”
It could be recalled that over the years, the state of Nigeria’s healthcare system has been characterized by sub-optimal maternal and child health outcomes and poor quality of health services.
Although the health system is laden with supply and demand side challenges, limited progress in health outcomes is primarily driven by the low coverage of key health interventions and limited availability of life saving commodities in service delivery points across the country.
Whilst the Federal Government make efforts to scale up access to underutilized and high-impact commodities, effective in-country supply chains has become an even more critical success factor in ensuring these commodities reach the women and children who need them most. There is however some concern that the public health supply chain system could impede efforts to improve coverage and improve health outcomes in Nigeria.