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IMMUNISATION: Experts seek strong leadership in Nigeria’s supply chain system

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By Chioma Obinna

Irked by Nigeria’s inadequate Supply Chain,  capacity, experts have said that to improve immunisation coverage and reduce infant and child mortality, a strong supply chain system manned with competent individuals empowered to deal with the present and future challenges was key.

To this end, the Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, in collaboration with a private global logistics company, United Parcel Services, UPS, have developed the Strategic Training Executive Programme, STEP to strengthen the Supply Chain leadership in governments.

The Regional Director, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain, ARC, Azuka Okeke explained that STEP presents a unique opportunity for countries like Nigeria to develop supply chain leaders who will advance effective and efficient immunization delivery.

Okeke said one of the key areas of focus of the STEP training in Nigeria is building strong leadership at national and state government levels that will drive ownership of health programmes beyond Vaccines Management.

“ARC led the adoption of the STEP by the Nigerian government by providing insight on the relevance of the program to the decision-makers in immunization

“National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, through the advocacy support of ARC made a formal request to GAVI to implement the STEP strategy in Nigeria.

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The ARC, collaboration between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, and Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, PHN, serves as an advisor to the government on public health supply chain strategies provides thought partnerships in the adoption of transformation agendas for supply chain improvement.

ARC facilitated the adoption of the STEP by the agency and is currently facilitating the implementation of the programme in the country,” she explained.”

Speaking, Supply Chain Consultant to GAVI, Magloire Achidi explained that GAVI recognises the critical importance of investing in skill development for global supply chain leaders, as a result, GAVI partnered with UPS to provide health supply chain management professionals and decision makers in various countries across the globe with leadership and management skills at all levels of the health system to enable them to overcome existing and emerging challenges.

The STEP training, based on an academic framework of professional competencies for supply chain managers, combines traditional learning with on-the-job training, thereby assisting supply chain leaders to develop their problem-solving skills and foster effective team-bilding approaches.

On his part, Vice President, Member Engagement, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, George Bray added that:  “Leaders bring people together to tap their collective wisdom. When doing so, you must be prepared for differences of opinion and conflict. Becoming an effective negotiator can reveal new opportunities, sharpen your focus, satisfy your needs and improve your relationships.”

Public Health and Safety/Humanitarian, UPS, Kevin Etter, Director, explained that the importance of leadership rings within every industry with leadership seen as a critical driver for success.

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