Logistics and Security Specialist
- Logisticians use this list of required stock to support further preparedness activities and enable a faster response.
- The market survey aims to understand how the relevant local market operators work; the materials that can be found in the local area; and the capability of suppliers to deliver required items per the stock list. This allows more rapid procurement of items when an outbreak occurs.
- Market surveys are particularly important for medical products as substandard and falsified medicines can make up to 1 in 10 items in low and middle income countries.
- Once suppliers have been identified, logisticians may then set up framework agreements with them to ensure a predictable and timely re-supply of stock, to either replace stores or go directly to the response.
- Logisticians also map out partners and other stakeholders in areas identified as high risk for outbreaks. Where possible, logisticians establish logistics platforms and strengthen partnerships to capitalise on available resources that might be needed at the time of response (transport, cold chain equipment, warehouses and rotation of stock).
- For essential stock, such as vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, pre-positioning may be used. Pre-positioning is placing stock in high-risk areas so it is ready in the case of an emergency.
- Logisticians check if it is feasible to pre-position stock in high-risk areas based on certain requirements, including existing warehouse space and special storage requirements. Once items are pre-positioned, logisticians will manage the items. Health commodities require close management as incorrect storage can lead to them becoming ineffective and or expired.
- Health and logistics professionals determine where the most likely response locations are and then determine what are the potential supply routes and methods to get items to those locations. This also requires identifying potential risks and challenges, and planning alternate strategies if these situations arise.
- For each supply option, logisticians will also develop a contingency option. For example, if there was a plan to fly stock into a location but the airlines are not flying, an alternative route will have been pre-identified. For items requiring cold chain (e.g. vaccines), pre-validated supply routes and methods are used to minimise the risk of the item being destroyed by exposure to heat/sun.
- For routes that require international procurement, logisticians map out the importation process to bring items into the country, taking into consideration all other potential government restrictions. Pharmaceuticals can be particularly difficult to bring into the country, but are critical to outbreak responses, so logisticians need to be prepared for every situation.
- Logisticians review any potential restrictions on procurement such as required registrations (often required for pharmaceuticals) and payment options.
- Where possible, relationships are built with the relevant agencies involved in procurement such as the National Customs agency, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Taxation to try to reduce any potential bottlenecks.
- Logisticians need a variety of tools to ensure responses are able to get the right items, in the right place at the right time. These tools include:
-Procurement plan and tracker
-Stock consumption, inventory management system
-Stock monitoring and reporting tools
-Assets register and assess movement
-Distribution plan and reporting
-Logistics Management and Information system (LMIS)
-Logistic cluster documents (if functioning)8. Capacity Building
- In areas at high risk for outbreaks, increasing the capacity of existing logistics staff is essential so that when an outbreak occurs, the team can perform the required tasks.
Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle Income Countries
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