Immunization highlights: 2011
Innovation in immunization supply systems
"Moving warehouse" up-and-running in Senegal
Since the launch of the moving warehouse in early 2011 by the Minister of Health and Prevention and Hygiene of Senegal, Mr Modou Diagne Fada, five district health centres and 105 health posts in the Saint Louis region have received regular monthly deliveries of vaccines and immunization supplies. Through the moving warehouse system, two insulated trucks deliver vaccines and other health products directly from the regional pharmacy warehouse to health centres, without interim stocking at district level. Products are delivered according to the needs indentified by the health centres, with delivery teams able to provide on-site supportive supervision and maintenance of equipment when deliveries are made. Stock management is computerized, with real-time, web-based information exchange between the moving warehouse, health centres, and regional and national storage facilities.
The moving warehouse is not limited to the monthly distribution of vaccines; it also delivers vaccines for national immunization days throughout the Saint Louis region. Before, immunization campaigns were facing problems of vaccines delivery and vaccines often did not arrive on time at health centres, which disrupted the schedule of the vaccination campaign.
"This is a good initiative that needs to be sustained", said Mr Ibrahima Ball, chief nurse at the health centre of Mboyo. "There are no more stockout and vaccines are delivered on time. We don't need to go and pick them up anymore". In the past, district teams would come to regional warehouses to collect supplies of vaccines, drugs and other health products, and head nurses from health posts would, in turn, travel to district headquarters to replenish supplies. Due to the challenges of transport availability and funds for per diems, however, the timing of trips to restock was not optimal, leading to frequent stock-outs and the inability of staff at health posts to administer vaccines and supply drugs to local populations when they were needed.
The success of the moving warehouse has helped convince other public health officials and programme managers. The district medical officer of the Pete District ― the most remote of the five districts in the Saint Louis region ― requested the addition of essential drugs to the moving warehouse. The ISSU (Initiative Sénégalaise de Santé Urbaine) Project of Reproductive Health Division supported by USAID through McKinsey company also requested the moving warehouse to help them distribute reproductive health commodities to two pilot districts i.e. Podor and Dagana. The district of Podor is the next to introduce the moving warehouse system for the delivery of essential drugs. Further extension to other regions and public health programs in Senegal will depend on the results achieved in these districts.
The moving warehouse is one of the first projects supported by the WHO/PATH project Optimize to be introduced in a partner country. The overall goal of Optimize is, through collaboration with countries across the world (Albania, Guatemala, Senegal, Tunisia and Viet Nam), to build evidence base for the characteristics of the supply chains of the future, which are both flexible enough and robust enough to handle an increasingly large and costly portfolio of vaccines and establish synergies with other health interventions.