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Supplies and Logistics

UNICEF, partners, and PPE industry closing the supply gap and reducing prices

In November last year, UNICEF hosted a two-day industry consultation to address the critical question of supply and demand of personal protection equipment (PPE) and body bags for infection control.  UNICEF welcomed 15 manufacturers representing 90 per cent of the current global production capacity and major partners responsible for 90 per cent of the global procurement, which in addition to UNICEF, include WHO, MSF, IFRC, IMC, DFID and the USAID and the United States military.  The meeting resulted in the first ever aggregated global projection for a six month period.  In an important step towards creating a transparent market, partners estimated that the demand for the key PPE components of coveralls and gown/apron with sleeves would exceed one million per month by December 2014, representing an approximate 30 percent gap in supply based on current global production capacity.

5 January, 2015, Copenhagen -  UNICEF and other agencies are encouraging manufacturers that have not yet been certified in meeting EVD PPE technical standards to urgently pursue such, and for buyers to be ready to inspect for quality assurance.  UNICEF has been in close communication with manufacturers and wholesalers, including Wijnronemer Relief Goods B.V, Indutex, Kimberly-Clark, Microgard, Honeywell, Dupont, BIAB International, ARCO Limitted, MEG, ICM, Durbin and others to source additional PPE, particularly to fill the gaps for garments to be used in high-risk settings.

The overall demand for PPEs and related supplies is influenced by country plans – and these are often fluid. WHO and UNICEF have committed to reviewing in-country consumption patterns, by and within the different service delivery points, to better quantify demand.  This demand forecast will increase transparency and provide clarity across partners and to industry on countries’ needs.

UNICEF has recently completed a competitive tender for essential PPE and is engaged with awarded suppliers to finalise long term arrangements (LTAs) which will increase the procurement efficiency for affected EVD-affected countries. The recently finalised UNICEF LTAs will also support the health systems with supplies related to emergency preparedness. The tender outcome resulted in increase of the number of suppliers and brands available through UNICEF as well as increase of production capacity and expanded its geographic supplier base.

The progress so far has been positive. Manufacturers have begun to increase production. The monthly production capacity of coveralls available to UNICEF has gradually increased from 60,000 units in late August to over 170,000 in December and will reach 300,000 units by March 2015. While industry and partners continue to refine and innovate PPE design, industry has reverted to UNICEF with revised offers. The range for a full PPE set ranges from $40 to $52 mostly related to quality standards, manufacturing site and production capacity. In addition the tender resulted in price reductions:

  • Coveralls from an average $11 to $6.76 per unit
  • Masks FFP2 from an average of $2.25 to $1.39
  • Hoods from $1.17 to $0.82
  • Gown/apron with sleeves (Cat III) $3.43 to $1.77

Some items such as the spray-anti fog and face shield, which are difficult to source in the required technical specification and quality standards, increased.

The latest market update on PPE and other EVD-related supplies is now available here.

In 2014, UNICEF sent over 5,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) in life-saving supplies to fight Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.




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