Healthcare supply chain issues and fake medicines to feature at SAPICS

The annual SAPICS Conference is Africa’s leading knowledge sharing and networking event for supply chain professionals. The conference takes place in Cape Town from 9 to 12 June and will offer practical and relevant information packaged in educational presentations, case studies, interactive workshops and site visits.

More children and communities in the DRC have access to immunisation and essential medicines through the Next Generation Supply Chain Initiative
Source: VillageReach

Dr Iain Barton, executive vice president: healthcare at Imperial Logistics
Dr Iain Barton

A series of powerful healthcare focused presentations are planned for SAPICS 2019. Mungo Park, president of SAPICS, the Professional Body for Supply Chain Management, explains: ‘In a world where around one billion people have little to no access to healthcare and 6.3 million children die each year, primarily from preventable diseases, it is critical the supply chain community shares lessons and know-how to help increase access to quality healthcare, especially at the last mile.’

Navigating the last mile

Richard is a healthcare worker whose tiny clinic is located at the edge of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Until recently, he had to brave the fast flowing waters of the Congo every month, travelling 39km by canoe to collect vaccines and supplies for his clinic. Non-profit organisation, VillageReach and its partners have made supply chain improvements, so Richard no longer has to undertake this monthly trek. His clinic refrigerator and pharmacy are well stocked, and Richard now has more time to deliver care to patients. He has doubled his outreach sessions per month, vaccinating more children in the rural communities that sit off the river, beyond the last mile.

VillageReach directors Joseph Roussel and Craig Usswald are part of the line-up of exceptional presenters on the 2019 conference programme.

‘Navigating the last mile in extreme environments is the topic of their presentation, which offers thought-provoking insight into some of the interventions solving healthcare delivery challenges in low resource communities,’ Park explains.

Public healthcare successes and challenges

Public and private sector partnerships add immense value to improving healthcare supply chains and in the fight against HIV/AIDS. People that Deliver (PtD) – a global initiative that aims to improve health outcomes by promoting sustainable workforce excellence in health supply chain management – will be highlighted at the 2019 SAPICS Conference. New horizons in public health supply chains: the emerging role of the private sector is the topic of a panel discussion facilitated by Dominique Zwinkels, PtD’s executive manager.

The newly formed ASCM public health initiative will share updates on its collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Glenda Maitin, ASCM programme director and Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of ASCM, will take to the stage to highlight the work undertaken.

In his SAPICS conference presentation, Dr Andrew Brown of USAID will share his insights into the struggle to recruit, retain and support competent supply chain personnel. Park comments: ‘This challenge is experienced by every mid and upper level supply chain manager. It can have dire consequences in the public health sector.’ Dr Brown’s presentation will provide lessons learnt from a range of activities undertaken by the USAID Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) Project.

A SAPICS 2019 case study by Florian Menold, general manager at DSV Healthcare, will reveal how public and private sector collaboration is ensuring access to medical care for patients living with HIV/Aids and other chronic conditions.

Yasmin Chandani, CEO of inSupply Health from Kenya, will discuss people, processes and data at the heart of public health supply chains, drawing from her experiences of working in Kenya and Tanzania.

Fake medicines in the spotlight

The scourge of false and substandard medicines will be examined during a panel discussion led by Dr Iain Barton, executive vice president: healthcare at Imperial Logistics.

According to World Health Organization data, one in 10 medical products circulating in low and middle income countries is either substandard or falsified. A University of Edinburgh report estimated ‘up to 169 000 children die each year from pneumonia due to fake or substandard antibiotics’.

‘SAPICS is proud to contribute to the body of knowledge that will stop these deaths, improve healthcare supply chains and distribution networks, and foster vital partnerships between the public and private healthcare sectors,’ Park concludes.