For those of us working in global health, we might wonder if we are really making a difference, especially when events like the Ebola outbreak occur and the news is dominated by images of death and words of fear. The Lancet just released a study that should make everyone working to improve access to quality health care and commodities feel good about the work we do; it might take time and we still have much to do, but we all make a difference:
I’m not an epidemiologist—I’m a supply chain geek—but I still find this study exciting. The epidemiological transition The Lancet highlights must be met with increased agility in supply chains. Public health supply chains of the future will need to accommodate an increased focus on NCDs, even while maintaining the progress we’ve seen in improving access to medicines, vaccines and other health commodities to prevent or treat communicable diseases. That means increasing volumes of different medicines and commodities or, in the parlance of the logistician, stock keeping units (SKUs). We’ve seen this before in the global response to HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. We’re seeing this now with the introduction of many new vaccines. So we cannot rest on our laurels but must anticipate greater volumes, greater complexity, and greater need for high-performing supply chains.