Strengthening supply chains

Delivering life-saving care to children in need.


Millions of children die every year from preventable causes. Disease, injury, environmental hazard and the devastating effects of conflict put children and adolescents around the world in harm’s way.

But countless deaths can be avoided with access to vaccines, medicines and other critical health supplies.

For various reasons, existing supplies do not always reach children in need. Lack of coordination, financing or data keeps some life-saving medicines and products far from the children they are meant to protect. Especially for children on the move or affected by crisis, seeking medical care can heighten the risk of injury or death.

Strong supply chains help ensure that essential vaccines, medicines and health products make it from the warehouse to the most vulnerable children. Every link of the supply chain counts.

Supply chains must be responsive and resilient – capable of adapting to shifting demands for routine products while preparing for emergency situations like Ebola outbreaks. Strong and sustainable supply chains help Governments reduce costs, stock-outs and waste.

A UNICEF logistics officer checks UNICEF health and nutrition supplies before they are loaded onto a truck headed for a UNICEF warehouse in rural Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic.

UNICEF’s response

UNICEF helps provide critical vaccines, medicines and other supplies to children across the globe – including in some of the hardest-to-reach places. In 2018 alone, UNICEF procured $1.97 billion worth of health-related supplies from around the world.

We work with Governments and partners to strengthen national supply chains, focusing on policy and regulatory frameworks, operations and processes, and financing and resource mobilization. By collaborating with the private sector to develop quality medicines and keep prices affordable, we bolster the sustainability of supply chains to help expand access to life-saving vaccines and medicines for every child at the district and community levels.


Sustainable Supply Chains for Health System Strengthening Workshop (Concept note) (Brief recap)

Learn more on how UNICEF supports Governments to strengthen key supply chains in this concept note from a UNICEF conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2018.

The UNICEF Health Systems Strengthening Approach

Learn more about our vision for, and approach to, health systems that reliably serve children, adolescents and women of reproductive age.