Health experts across Africa have called for the strengthening of national supply chains by focusing on the role of data and technology in policy and regulatory frameworks, manufacturing processes, and resource mobilization in order to firm up the continent’s post-COVID-19 heath security systems.
Speaking in Nairobi during the Africa Healthcare Supply Chain dialogue 2022, the experts, drawn from the Ministries of Health of five East African nations shared insights, mapping out opportunities for the continent’s healthcare system post-pandemic.
The forum convened by Xetova, Safaricom, and the Ministry of Health drew participation from Government officials in Kenya, Rwanda, the DRC, Uganda, and Tanzania with the aim of identifying opportunities for collaboration between the private sector, public institutions, and key stakeholders to redefine access to health care across the continent.
The summit also saw the convention of the continent’s multilateral agencies, tech and financial sectors, manufacturers and donor organizations.
According to Kenya’s Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman, every link of the health supply chain is of great importance as it ensures that essential vaccines, medicines and healthcare products make it from manufacturing plants to persons who are most vulnerable across the continent.
“Africa continues to lag behind in adoption and use of technology to manage healthcare supply chains. The continent’s healthcare supply chains should be designed in such a way that they are capable of adapting to shifting demands and requirements for routine products and emergency situations such as COVID-19 and other pandemics,” said Dr Aman.
Healthcare is one of the sectors hardest hit by supply chain challenges during the Covid pandemic.
Stakeholders in health service provision including governments and industry players have been called on to leverage technology to mitigate against risk, build efficiencies and resilience moving forward.
Speaking at the summit, Xetova CEO Bramuel Mwalo said: “Strong supply chains help ensure that essential healthcare products and services including medicines, vaccines, and resources make it from the warehouse to the populations when and where they need them. Every link of the supply chain counts and critically we need to premise these cycles on strong adoption of data and technology.”
Safaricom’s Chief Enterprise Business Officer noted, “Our aim is to use using artificial intelligence and big data to power a more proactive, data-driven decision-making processes in the health sector. This will enhance national consumption-planning for essential healthcare products and their just-in-time delivery to the various healthcare facilities.”
The summit, which will be held across other key hubs of African regions will consequently move to establish collaborations with governments and partners to strengthen national supply chains, focusing on data and technology, policy and regulatory frameworks, operations and processes, and financing and resource mobilization.