No matter how complex the computer modeling, no matter how well-automated the processes, no matter how ingenious the machine learning, a computer can’t predict when a medicine’s dispensing protocol changes, or anticipate how quickly or completely new product or regimen uptake will occur. What we have learned over the years, beyond the importance of data visibility and analysis, is that human practice controls medicine dispensing and ultimately demand. Computers can’t, in actuality, do all the work.
Ebola survivors have an abundance of medical and psychological problems: musculoskeletal conditions that cause joint stiffness; ocular conditions that can lead to cataracts and blindness; anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—to name a few—all of which require specialized medical care. More resources need to be directed to helping survivors get appropriate health care and mental health services.
Ultimately, preparing for outbreaks begins long before the first case and must entail a strong routine immunization system that provides vaccinations to all target groups, regular communication and education of the public, regular upskilling of health workers, strong surveillance, prepositioning and stockpiling vaccines and appropriate medicines.
inSupply convened 30 county-level public health leaders from 10 counties and their national partners in Machakos, Kenya to launch the IMPACT Team Network approach for collaboratively solving supply chain problems through teamwork, data analysis, and continuous improvement.
Immunization supply chains managers should be thinking about how to use new technology and innovative ideas to deliver more product, faster, and at a lower cost. We aren’t looking for Amazon Prime and delivery in an hour (although that would be nice). What is needed, though, is a reliable and efficient supply chain system that guarantees that all children can be immunized.
Sometimes, simpler solutions like paper cards are more efficient and usable than technology – particularly where they are needed most and where mobile services, electricity, the internet, and computers are not reliably available. Also, often the paper cards – when their value is emphasized and understood – can “live on” longer than the ever-changing and limited archival storage of electronic systems. A combination of both can be very effective.
We need funding and investments in the supply chains that get nets to communities, diagnostics tools to practitioners, entomology supplies to researchers, insecticides and equipment to spray programs, and medicines to clients, wherever and whenever they are needed. Investments in supply chain strengthening contribute to greater product availability, preventing, diagnosing, and treating malaria, and ultimately in malaria case outcomes. Supply chain strengthening remains a critical component of the global malaria agenda.
It takes commitment at all levels – from global, country and community levels to individual health workers and families – to ensure that vaccination works so that vaccines can work.
The objective of the Community Benefits Health pilot in Ghana was to influence women’s social networks and generate community-level support, leading to improved knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and maternal health behaviors. It was determined that using social network analysis to strengthen interventions focused on shifting social norms significantly improved uptake of maternal health and pregnancy behaviors.
Blockchain is the hot new technology topic in the financial world, the health sector, and the supply chain industry. It has a variety of applications in health, not least of which are medicine traceability and patient data management. This is just as true for the US domestic health sector as it is for health systems in low- and middle-income countries.