ViVa (Visibility for Vaccines)
By linking data, UNICEF can identify risks of stock outs or overstocking of vaccines well into the future. Through sharing this information with key stakeholders and decision makers timely corrective action can be put in place.
Immunization is one of the most cost effective health interventions available today. UNICEF procures vaccines for around 100 countries annually, identifying what the planned vaccine shipment requirements are to maintain an uninterrupted supply via an annual forecast exercise and continuous follow up with countries and suppliers throughout the year.
However, data from the WHO-UNICEF Immunization Joint Reporting Form indicates that immunization is being challenged by vaccine stock-outs in countries at different levels of the country supply chain – halting immunization, reducing coverage, and resulting in deaths from vaccine preventable diseases. There are multiple reasons for stock-outs; however, the main cause, as reported in the UNICEF Annual Forecast Exercise, is the delay in release of funds. Over the 2002-2014 period, 45% of stock-outs were due to delays in funding. To raise this issue with key decision makers, and ensure required corrective action before stock-outs occur, there is need for close and timely monitoring of any stock-out or overstocking risk.
CHALLENGES TO THE CURRENT MODEL
While UNICEF Supply Division has both actual and forecast data covering the past 10 years for all countries UNICEF Supply Division procures for, the current stock levels at the central store in countries have not been linked to the UNICEF Supply Division’s pipeline of planned delivery schedules. Visibility of scheduled deliveries in the pipeline linked with country current stock level data would enable preventative corrective action.
The UNICEF’s objective with this project is to link country level stock data with scheduled deliveries in a manner that provides a visual overview of projected stock levels and an alert to countries on any stock-out or overstocking risks. By linking these sets of data, UNICEF can identify risks of stock outs or overstocking of vaccines well into the future. Through sharing this information with key country stakeholders and decision makers, timely corrective action can be put in place.
UNICEF has developed a web-based visualization tool and is collaborating with country governments and the WHO to ensure that the proposed monitoring and advocacy tool fits the needs of countries. Countries that join update their vaccine stock data on a weekly or monthly basis and UNICEF updates its pipeline information on a weekly basis. The web-based tool is permanently available.
The innovation project consists of three main aspects:
- A database for synthesis and analysis. The database is relational and brings UNICEF, WHO and country data into one system for improved analysis.
- An internet interface for country stakeholders to upload, visualize and comprehend their data easily. With live data on current country stock levels, the database is able to project future stock-outs or overstocking.
- A set of alarms regarding stock levels. The database sends a message to the country or stakeholder identifying the potential risk.
TRANSITION & SCALING UP TO OTHER COUNTRIES
While interest in ViVa has grown globally and 9 countries are currently using it as part of their regular immunization reviews and meetings, the excel prototype has been recreated as a web-based tool with increased functionalities. UNICEF Supply Division is preparing communication and learning materials in order to be able to facilitate the scale-up to all interested countries. The tool has been presented widely to the Immunization Community, notable at the TechNet Conference 2015 with significant success.
The team will present at various regional EPI meetings in the future and the TechNet-21Conference on “Immunization Supply Chain and Logistics: Current Challenges, Innovations and Future Prospects” and the web-based tool is currently under development and will be available in Q2, 2015.