Creating a global supply network to address public health emergencies of international concern
The Pandemic Supply Chain Network (PSCN) was created following the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in January 2015. Participants expressed the need for better coordination across sectors to enhance global pandemic response capabilities.
The crux of a successful pandemic response is available supply and timely delivery of medical supplies to treat patients and protect health workers. Without a supply chain, there are no supplies. Without supplies, there is no response. We recognized that a large share of the cost of a pandemic relates to supplies, and a delay in the delivery of supplies seriously compromises the effectiveness of health interventions. The PSCN focuses on comprehensive supply chain improvements including all components of successful supply delivery to include not only the manufacturing but the critical and complex elements in transportation, logistics, policy, resource estimation, and standards and regulation.
Procurement of critical medical supplies for the Ebola response was complicated by the fact that partners did not know with sufficient specificity which products were needed. Therefore, an important aspect of preparedness is to identify a list of critical supplies and agree on specifications. The PSCN has developed a list of the top 60 critical product categories aligned with the top 10 diseases of pandemic concern.
Effective pandemic response relies on strong logistics planning and capacities - both upstream and downstream. The PSCN has engaged in a number of efforts to improve both upstream and downstream logistics. Progress includes pre-identification of upstream sea and air routes, assessing options for consolidation hubs, and improving downstream logistics capacities to augment limited national capacities in vulnerable countries.
There is currently no information system that provides end-to-end visibility of supply chains for pandemic preparedness and response. More broadly, all humanitarian supply chains are vulnerable to suboptimal information sharing and coordination. Within the PSCN, a sub-group has formed to work on developing a collaborative information platform to share key information and improve visibility across supply chains and between stakeholders.