Strengthening the Immunization Logistics Working Group in South Sudan

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From 15 – 17 August 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in South Sudan in collaboration with UNICEF country office and UNICEF head quarter organized the workshop on strengthening the Immunization Logistics Working Group.

The objectives of this workshop is to:

  • Analyze the immunization LWG situation and needs for improvements
  • Update the LWG terms of reference
  • Develop functioning process and tools of the NLWG
  • Specify the technical capacity of the LWG to continuously improve the immunization supply chain

South Sudan is a young country of which the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) was established in 2008 before its independence . However the cold chain coverage has been very low which covers about 36 – 40% of all functional health care services centers. In South Sudan, underdeveloped infrastructure and challenges to access service delivery points and communities in hard-to-reach areas, challenges to transport vaccines and cold chain equipment, understaffing and weak capacity of human resources at health facilities and other lower administrative levels, combined with ongoing security concerns is hampering provision of EPI services and reaching communities and children that are unreached.

To ensure effective cold chain supply system management and coordination in its Expanded Program on Immunization, the EPI Technical Working Group of MoH constitutes a sub-committee ‘EPI Logistics Technical Working Group” (EPI LWG). This group was established on 8 March 2017 by MoH.

Goals of the National LWG are to strengthen the EPI supplies management systems and improve the vaccine and cold chain management practices at all levels of the immunization Supply Chain (iSC). The group operates with specific tasks to ensure that women and children have access to safe and potent vaccines for routine and supplementary immunization interventions.

In the context of low cold chain coverage, the EPI Logistics TWG is needed to be strengthened its functions and the technical capacity to ensure an effective iSC system.

With the facilitation of UNICEF consultants, MoH’s representatives and JSI’s expert, the workshop took place with 10 active and productive sessions. Participants showed their satisfaction to the overall workshop and on specific topics through a rapid assessment before the workshop ended. They understood better the role and responsibility of the LWG, as well as the technical capacities of this group. Participants also mentioned they learned new facilitation techniques with less PowerPoint presentation and more group work during the workshop.

Thanks to this workshop, benefits gained to facilitate the strengthening further the LWG were identified including:

  • Better understanding of the concept of National Logistics Working group and the needs for improved immunization supply chain (iSC).
  • The vision of the South Sudan LWG was defined as well as its mode of operation and technical capacity.
  • An action plan to optimize the LWG was developed

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