The Public Health Supply Chain (PHSC) provides a reliable supply of commodities, and thus more people are likely to use health services. However, Low- and Middle-income countries (LMIC) still experience essential medicine and vaccine stockouts that cause interruptions of health services leading to missed opportunities to protect people from diseases and epidemics. The major barriers that hinder strong PHSC are firstly the poor countries’ capacity in inventory predictability, equipment management including cold chain, funding, coordination of interventions, number of skilled staff, and secondly, the countries’ low interest in the supply chain. This is why the global community of partners and governments has increased investments to reinforce PHSC systems at country level.
Nevertheless, this investment and strategic planning of needs is insufficient from one country to the next; indeed, there is neither a systematic and structured mechanism to capitalize on past and existing support, nor a plan for future needs. While in Africa, there are two regional centers of excellence including East African Community (EAC) Regional CoE and LOGIVAC which were established to improve the capacity of supply chain managers and staff in the region, there is no such center in Asia-Pacific region where has similar needs for Public Health Supply Chain in spite of different contexts, stages, and speeds of development.
Understanding the described context, GaneshAID developed RACE (Regional Asia-Pacific Center of Excellence) initiative with an expectation to support the modernization of health and immunization supply chains in Asia Pacific countries. RACE approach is to improve equitable access to quality-assured, life-saving medicines and vaccines through capacity building, technical assistance, and research for innovation among countries in the region. However, to be able to realize RACE initiative, it requires a long process to develop its business feasibility.
Thanks to Gavi support, a Business Feasibility Study (BFS) to identify the challenges and opportunities for establishing RACE has been conducted from early January to July 2018.
The objective of the BFS is to assess the condition for success and critical barriers of the prospective Centre of Excellence for health and immunization commodities supply chains in GAVI eligible countries in the Asia Pacific Region. The BFS will generate key information, evidence-based recommendations and limitations, including a cost and legal analysis to assist decision-makers (GAVI, WHO, UNICEF, Governments) when determining if the RACE business concept is viable in the locations selected.
This project will be conducted in four phases including Preparation, Data collection, Data analysis and Business Feasibility Report and presentation of scenarios. Based on the results of desk review and data collection phase, more than one scenarios to establish a RACE will be presented with evidence and discussions on pros and cons, prerequisite conditions and opportunities to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the initiative of each scenario.
Under this project, a close coordination with Gavi, Regional and Country Offices of UNICEF and WHO will be mobilized to support the project implementation. This is visualized by a Project Advisory Group (PAG) which consists of representatives from Gavi Secretariat, UNICEF, WHO regional offices. The PAG members are involved in all phases of the project with a key role in coordination, providing guidance and project document validation.