By Chioma Obinna With the world ranking showing that Nigeria underperforms global and regional peers on key levers of logistics and supply chain efficiency, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain, a collaboration of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are calling for private sector collaboration in Nigeria to strengthen public health supply chain especially in availability of vaccines, essential medicines, and medical products. Speaking during a maiden ARC Partnership Forum in Lagos last week, CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq revealed that the private sector has the expertise, resources, and capabilities that the public health sector can benefit from to increase availability of medicines, health commodities and effective and resilient supply chain systems.
According to Muntaga, the impact ARC aims to achieve is an improved performance of the supply chains to increase availability of medicines health commodities and collectively, the private sector possesses both tangible & intangible assets that give it a distinct advantage in tackling specific health issues, including building resilient supply chain systems. On his part, the Regional Director, ARC, Azuka Okeke revealed that ARC Nigeria is currently working to build a centralized and regional Supply Chain Resource Centre that can provide independent advice, develop partnerships and share experiences and learning across countries to help Ministries of Health meet their public health goals. Okeke noted that ARC is focusing on areas that collectively leverage supply chain expertise, tools and capabilities to support performance improvements in the public health system. “These areas include supporting supply chain strategy, advocate for supply chain investments and provide independent advice and expertise; support Ministries of Health to shape investments and align donors and implementing partners; access private sector expertise, tools, methods and capability to improve supply chain transformations and supply chain management as well as broker partnerships to strengthen Ministries of Health capability and build long-term talent for supply chain in Africa,” Azuka explained.
In his views, Global Solutions Director, UPS Foundation, Jim Coughlan pointed out that the biggest opportunity is finding ways to engage the private sector given their knowledge level or intellectual capital in supply chain management. He explained that UPS and Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation, GAVI, worked together on a programme called Strategic Training for Executive Programme, STEP, which is currently running in Nigeria. Also speaking, a Supply chain consultant to the office of the Minister of Health, Pharm Gloria Chukwuma noted that efficient and effective supply chain management remained an important key to the healthcare system as it improves availability of medical commodities which is a key enabler for optimal health care service delivery.
The ARC Partnership forum brought together corporate private sector partners from Pharmaceuticals, FMCGs, Logistics & Transport, Telecommunications, etc. including government and development partners with an aim of sharing experiences, and exploring new ways of partnering with the public sector to achieve measurable results in healthcare. Also, the forum brought to the fore how private sector is strengthening public health supply chain.