Introduction: Immunization supply chains (iSC) are essential for ensuring access to vaccines that prevent diseases. Guinea, Madagascar, and Niger initiated iSC system design efforts to conduct analysis of alternative supply chain scenarios to identify areas for improvement.
Methodology: Key stakeholders from Ministries of Health and immunization programs identified bottlenecks in the current iSC and prioritized five general design scenarios to model in each country. Scenarios included aspects of integration, changing supply chain levels and delivery frequency, ignoring administrative boundaries, and direct delivery. Primary and secondary data were collected and cleaned. Analysis was completed using Supply Chain Guru (Madagascar and Niger) and AnyLogistix (Guinea) modeling software to build a virtual representation of the iSC physical components and operating policies.
Results: Modeling results were compared using both quantitative and qualitative criteria (total operating costs, cost per dose, cold chain capacity, risk of mishandling, logistics burden on healthcare workers, feasibility to implement, and equity). Using a Stop Light Analysis for user-friendly understanding of positive, negative or minimal impact on scenarios, cost savings were realized in most scenarios in Madagascar (except using autonomous aerial vehicles); proposed scenarios in Guinea increased costs or had minimal impact; in Niger, eliminating regional tiers reduced costs. Facility level cold chain was sufficient in all countries. Effect on qualitative indicators largely depended on the scenario and country context.
Discussion: Similarities in scenarios selected were seen across the three countries. Results suggest that efficiencies can be found through changes to the iSC design, but the benefits of each scenario must be considered in the country context. Results of the analysis do not provide "the right answer" but rather options and guidance which then must be grounded in the country context and used as evidence for decision making to ensure reliable availability of vaccines.
Keywords: Immunization; Modeling; Supply chain; System design; Vaccine.
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