Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Supply Systems and Equipment

Overview

Strategies and tools to ensure effectiveness and impact

It has been more than 30 years since the first supply and logistics systems were developed for the Expanded Programme on Immunization, a global program established by the World Health Organization to immunize at least 90 percent of the world’s children younger than age one against six deadly diseases. Today, these same systems need to be strengthened as health programs grow to accommodate twice the number of vaccines and work to integrate a variety of other essential medicines within their supply chains.

Rethinking the possibilities

In collaboration with numerous public- and private-sector partners, PATH’s work in supply systems and equipment centers on improving supply system performance, increasing safety, and maximizing access—all in an effort to better meet the needs and limitations of developing countries. In addition, we focus on the experiences of end users by understanding their needs and constraints and collecting feedback on new products and strategies. With these insights, we adapt technologies to fit the environment of use and develop policies, guidelines, and programs that integrate with other local interventions and lead to sustainable improvements in public health outcomes.

For more on this integrated approach as well as a general description of our technical and project management capabilities, please visit PATH’s Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Technologies Group site.

Innovating for the future

PATH contributed to the 2020 Global Vision for Vaccine Supply and Logistics Systems and is working with partners to address the gaps featured in a vision landscape analysis and elaborated on in vision action plans. Through our most recent collaboration with the World Health Organization under project Optimize, we have made significant progress in identifying new technologies, tools, and strategies for improving supply chain management and distribution systems.

Additional efforts include exploring and developing different product presentations as well as packaging and refrigeration options to better meet user needs, protect vaccines and other pharmaceuticals from temperature extremes, and minimize environmental impacts. In collaboration with PATH’s Digital Health Solutions team, we worked to develop the Cold Chain Equipment Manager toolkit—a group of tools that help countries perform a national cold chain inventory assessment and forecast future equipment purchase as well as maintenance requirements. At the same time, we continue to research other innovations in packaging design, including the use of barcodes to increase the speed and accuracy of stock processing and distribution tracking.

Additional information