Cold chain in Humanitarian Aid – delivery of vaccines to patients in a relief situation.

Topics: Supply chain management, Supply chain, Logistics Pages: 6 (1832 words) Published: April 1, 2014

MBA 30, Global Supply Chain Management, Individual Assignment

Cold chain in Humanitarian Aid – delivery of vaccines to patients in a relief situation. Meningitis campaign from Médecins Sans Frontières in South Sudan

Student Numbers: 53283
Maastricht, 24th January 2014

1. Introduction / situation analyse
1.1. Increased supply chain in humanitarian aid
Scott (2010) points out that donors in humanitarian aid ask for more value for money in relief operations and that the market expenditure has increased dramatically in the last ten years. Humanitarian funding to the developing world has increased from 2’000 million US$ in 2001 to almost 10’000 million US$ in 2008. The supply chains play the most important role because operation expenditure contains around 80% of supply chain management and is the highest cost. 1.2. MSF in South Sudan

During my field mission in 2007 with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Switzerland I supported a meningitis campaign in South Sudan and was involved with its cold chain. MSF has been operating in Sudan since the middle of the nineties. As member from the coordi­nation team in Juba, I would like to analyse this case from an academic point of view. 1.3. Meningitis belt

Meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the thin membranes surrounding the brain. Death can follow within hours of the onset of symptoms. It occurs worldwide, but the main stream of infections and deaths are in Africa, particularly across the “meningitis belt”, an east-west geographical strip from Ethiopia to Senegal (MSF, 2014). 1.4. Supply chain management

The material for a meningitis vaccination contains usually the vaccines, non-medical material and only a very limited material which purchased locally (food for staff, fuel etc.). The meningitis vaccines need to be ordered through the World Health Organization (WHO). The non-medical material is often delivered in special kits supported by MSF Logistique. Even though that MSF generally supports regional products with the aim to strengthen local production (e.g. mosquito nets); in the case of a meningitis campaign most of the material is procured internationally. Scott (2007) justifies this due the fact that NGOs must quickly set up quite complex supply chains to assemble and distribute material. 1.5. Cold chain management

The WHO defines the cold chain as “network of refrigerators, cold stores, freezers and cold boxes organised and maintained so that vaccines are kept at the right temperature to remain potent during vaccine transportation, storage and distribution from factory to the point of use” (World Health Organisation, 2004). The process of a cold chain is best described in the illustration from MSF Belgium (see attachment “chain of life”). The material is transported from a warehouse (no 1) and shipped to its destination (no 2, 3). The coordination team (e.g. logistician in Juba) is in charge for the customs clearance (no 4) and processes the transport to the field (no 5-8) where the medical team starts with the injections programme (no 9).

2. Assessment and conclusion of frameworks/methods
2.1. Cold chain management
I would like to point out here the most critical stages in the cold chain from my experience: Weather condition/environment: Vaccines and diagnostic tests are very sensitive products and they lose quickly their protection if they are exposed to heat if temperature rise over 8 degrees Celsius and/or freeze. In South Sudan it can easily happen that the cold chain is interrupted because temperatures rise above 40 degrees Celsius. This is very challenging in a humanitarian crises without electricity supply. Monitoring: MSF uses several instruments to monitor the cold chain: recorder thermometers, freezing indicator, monitor card, stop-watch card, temperature recorder Log tag and vaccine vial monitor (Medicos sin Fronteras, 2011). Nevertheless, all this instruments need to be properly used by local staff member,...

Bibliography: Doctors without borders. (2014, 01 22). Delivering Aid. Retrieved from
Medicins sans Frontieres
Medicos sin Fronteras. (2011, 06). Cold Chain Management. Retrieved from
MSF Logistique. (2014, 01 26). MSF Logistique . Retrieved from‎
MSF Supply
Scott, K. S. (2010). (Le)agility in humanitarian aid (NGO) supply chains. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 8/9, pp. 623-635.
World Health Organisation. (2004). Mid Level Management Course for EPI Managers. Retrieved from Module 8: "Cold Chain Management":
World Health Organisation
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