Sharing knowledge and building skills
Perspectives from the Vaccine Procurement Practitioner’s Exchange Forum (VPPEF) 2023.
The introduction of new vaccines was one of the main topics at this year’s Vaccine Procurement Practitioner’s Exchange Forum (VPPEF), an annual meeting that gathers government, UNICEF experts and key partners to discuss strengthening procurement planning for new vaccine introductions.
The VPPEF takes place at UNICEF’s Global Supply and Logistics Hub in Copenhagen and provides a platform for participants to share experiences and lessons learned in vaccine procurement, identify best practices and build on knowledge from different countries.
"You just don't get this kind of overview in other platforms."
This year, with more than 50 participants in attendance, the VPPEF focused on the new eCourse on Strategic Vaccine Procurement, market intelligence and the interlinkages between forecasting, planning and budgeting.
All presentations and the event report will be shared on the Vaccine Procurement Practitioners Network.
Here are some the perspectives shared by participants of the event, held in June 2023:
“I am responsible for preparing medium-term budget frameworks, especially for the health sector, where Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) activities are incorporated.
During the forum, I learned more about market intelligence, EPI activities in different countries and the importance of financing. Since resources are limited, we must prioritize our activities for financing purposes. This forum helps us understand the importance and priority of such activities.
Learning from different countries’ experiences is also helpful. Learning about the financing options for vaccinations or introduction of new ones in different countries and ways to make finances sustainable will help us take better financial decisions. I would obviously recommend attending this forum to anyone involved in the EPI activities.”
“This was the first time I came to UNICEF Supply Division. As I work with quality assurance and strategic planning in procuring health products, this meeting was relevant to my team.
Nigeria plans to introduce new vaccines and the Department of Logistics and Health Commodities is responsible for inbound vaccines and devises into the country, including new vaccines and the distribution of the vaccines and devices to states in Nigeria.
In the meeting, I learned more about the procurement of health commodities, and, for me, the most important topic was market intelligence. I can work with UNICEF to find out about prices of the vaccines, and which of them are available and are more suitable for our population. This will enable us to take more cost-effective decisions, not only about new vaccines and devices, but also traditional ones.”
“In October 2022, I attended a subregional meeting held in Amman, so this is the second time I participated in this kind of meeting. The forum was excellent to attend as I got to listen and share experiences with other countries and figure out what's happening in the field. We managed to get a better understanding of UNICEF’s procurement processes.
The meeting was also a good opportunity for us to be updated our on the introduction of new vaccines, in particular in our neighbouring countries, and exchange knowledge about the challenges and obstacles we may face.
By sharing experiences, we get new ideas and find ways to introduce new vaccines. In Palestine there are very limited financial resources, but we are planning to maintain our vaccine supply with high coverage, without any interruptions, and introduce new vaccines that are important for our children. Our collaboration with UNICEF is crucial to make sure we can maintain uninterrupted vaccination programmes.”
Cong Luat Nguyen
“I really enjoyed the forum and was impressed by many things. It was well prepared, informative, had relevant content, and involved participants from different continents, not just focusing on one specific region.
Attendees came from diverse backgrounds and were at different stages of introducing new vaccines into EPI programs. We had a good opportunity to discuss and ask questions.
In Viet Nam we are planning to introduce new vaccines and are facing some problems in our procurement mechanisms, so this forum was a chance for us to learn and share experiences. For example, I learned more about how to access reliable information on vaccine prices, and how other countries procure vaccines and implement their procurement through UNICEF.
Viet Nam self-procures most vaccines, mainly through tendering and seldom relying on UNICEF’s services. In this forum, we gained more information about other countries’ approaches and how they get competitive prices by procuring through UNICEF. So, I will feed this information back to the Ministry of Health.”
“I was invited to the VPPEF as a partner, and it was great to be able to learn about and reflect on other countries' plans. The forum is a solid platform to share experiences between countries, where countries can discuss procurement best practices, challenges and solutions.
The meeting was very interactive and the countries were able to speak about their experiences, helping us understand what is actually happening on the ground.
The posters presented by the countries showed the kind of vaccines that they are securing and the governmental structures that help facilitate the procurement. They were very informative and helpful for us as partners to understand the different legislative processes applied by countries. You just don't get this kind of overview in other platforms.
Our role as a partner organization is to facilitate these kinds of discussions. As we are planning the creation of a pooled procurement mechanism in Africa, listening to the challenges is important for us as we can find ways to support and fill the gaps that countries are experiencing.”