The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant weaknesses in the ability of countries across the world to identify and obtain supplies and services they suddenly needed urgently. This was particularly true in Africa, which found itself 'at the back of the line', first for PPE and ventilators, and then for vaccines. Remarkable innovations and partnerships, such as the African Medicines Supply Platform (AMSP), African Union's COVID-19 Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) resolved many of these issues. Nevertheless, supply chain challenges related to African vaccine distribution and service delivery remain as countries look to increase COVID-19 inoculations and healthcare coverage for their populations, including expanding the portfolio and volume of products for other diseases.
The COVID pandemic is also impacting global health product supply chains of a broad range of products beyond just COVID-19 vaccines, affecting key materials and ingredients, finished health products, logistics, shipping, and more. The private sector continues to drive innovation and opportunities in ensuring the availability of knowledge and skills to support the growing demand for more robust supply chains to support resilient health systems. COVID-19 has prompted several African countries to adopt innovations to improve access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be useful to find ways to preserve and build on these innovations to improve health service delivery more broadly on the continent, particularly in rural areas and under-served urban populations.
This panel session will explore the range of players, processes, and information needed to get health products to African people throughout the complex healthcare marketplace and explore opportunities to leverage private sector skills to address current health sector supply chain bottlenecks. The panelists will share experiences and lessons in addressing key supply chain aspects including the supply chain structure, commodity flow processes and arrangements, commodity funding, supply chain information and its management in the network, governance, operational capacity, and plans, as well as stakeholders' roles and coordination processes.
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