Managing a response to a pandemic disease outbreak is a challenge to most countries. For developing countries with weak health systems, low compliance with International Health
Regulations, and little-developed logistics capacities, the requirements for organizing an effective pandemic response tends to exceed national capacities.
This was the case in the Ebola crisis. Such were the conditions and complexity on the ground that WFP and the Logistics Cluster were asked to engage extensively in the health crisis
response — an unusual role for both of them. Their expertise was required because the unique coordination mechanism and the humanitarian response architecture exposed critical gaps, confusion, duplication and inefficiencies in supply chain management. These were mainly in the midstream and downstream, which compromised overall visibility and
severely hampered the management of supply lines.
WFP and the Logistics Cluster built a vast logistics framework to enable international assistance to reach not just the affected countries but also affected communities, and provide logistical support to medical responders on the ground. As well as supply chain management of medical and other humanitarian supplies, it included air transport and medical evacuation services for responders, and the design, construction and equipping of satellite communications hubs, end-user community care facilities, and treatment centres.