Training of county supply chain managers

The private sector has joined the government in setting up systems to ensure efficient management, delivery, and distribution of vaccines in the 47 counties.

Representatives from the Global Alliance for Vaccine (GAVI), and the global logistics giant United Parcel Services (UPS) are in Nairobi to help train national and county health and supply chain managers, in private sector style methods of ensuring efficient supply of vaccines to all corners of the country.

Participants are undergoing a weeklong training dubbed Strategic Training Executive Programme (STEP), at the Boma Hotel, Nairobi.

It is hoped that when the programme is fully operational, the public sector will be able to employ technology in sourcing, storage and inventory tracking of vaccines across the country.

Kenya currently buys vaccines worth Sh4 billion a year, with another Sh8 billion used in the logistics of moving the drugs to areas where they will be used.

It is estimated that the country would have to spend at least Sh17 billion a year in managing diseases that come with a lack of vaccination, if the Kenya did not vaccinate its population against preventable diseases.

Through the National Vaccine Immunisation Programme in Kenya, STEP is targeting County Expanded Programme on Immunisation  Supply Chain Managers and those who have oversight and an influence over the performance of the vaccine supply chain.

Apart from technical skills, participants will also be taught soft skills such as people management, empowering teams, motivating and communication skills.

“Traditionally, public health system human resource trainings place an emphasis on technical, operational-level staff competencies with less focus on non-technical (soft skills) such as People Management, Problem Solving, Communication, Project Management and Professional Development competencies.

STEP in Kenya has attracted the commitment of local private sector partners (Safaricom, Kuehne Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Kenya, Phillips Healthcare Ltd, Procter and Gamble (P&G), Novartis, etc.) who want to be part of this exciting initiative in supporting the buildup of a resilient healthcare system through Human Resources (HR) mentorship.

A similar programme was introduced in West Africa where a private sector alliance network – the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria was born.

STEP has helped in creating a transformational change in vaccine delivery with the support from local partners and political leaders with improvements in the public health supply chain, thereby leading to an increased immunisation coverage in Gavi-supported countries.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW) partnership with Gavi brings funding and provides invaluable expertise to create a sustainable, systems change in health supply chains.

Participants are mentored by private sector leaders who share best practices and their own experiences.

It will be recalled that in 2018, STEP was rolled out in Nigeria with Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain (ARC) implementing the STEP strategy in the country as part of its advocacy support for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

It is envisioned that by 2020, STEP will raise a new generation of Supply Chain managers who will not only be subject matters in technical skills but also are able to efficiently manage the resources made available to them for a better Effective Vaccine Management.