UPS helps UNICEF deliver results for children

Partnering with the United Parcel Services (UPS) Foundation has helped UNICEF reach millions of children with life-saving supplies.

In September 2019 in Bahamas, a shipment of UNICEF emergency supplies arrive at the Nassau International Airport.
20 November 2020

A rapid response through efficient supply chains can save countless lives, and the ability to call on partner support on a short notice is critical for UNICEF’s global supply operations.  

For example, in 2019 an estimated 3.7 million people in Haiti faced food insecurity and over 850,000 required urgent access to primary health care. UPS supported UNICEF with air freight to transport essential medicines and equipment for health workers and physicians to serve 370,000 persons for three months during the onset of the conflict-induced emergency.

In the same year, UPS supported the transportation of emergency supplies to respond to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where a fast deployment of health, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies helped contain the spread of the disease.

A boys washes his hands at Mpondwe boarder point between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in February 2015.

Flexible funding helps scale the oxygen response during COVID-19

In 2020, the global health emergency brought on by COVID-19 demanded a combined effort across the UN agencies as well as with businesses and partners.  

Flexible funding provided through the UPS partnership allowed UNICEF to quickly scale up its oxygen response which included rapid distribution of essential oxygen equipment to over 90 countries.

Prior to the onset of the emergency, UNICEF had been implementing the Oxygen Therapy Innovation Project - funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -  to help build oxygen systems in countries with high rates of children dying from pneumonia. One critical use of oxygen is to treat respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia, the greatest killer of children under five in the world. And since COVID-19, when severe, can cause pneumonia, oxygen is also used to treat COVID-19 patients.  Due to the groundwork from the oxygen therapy project UNICEF was able to quickly scale efforts to respond to the urgent needs for oxygen therapy when COVID-19 hit.

With UPS support, UNICEF was able to develop an online dashboard for tracking the global distribution of oxygen therapy equipment. Also referred to as the Oxygen Concentrator Management Interface, the dashboard has helped UNICEF make evidence-informed decisions, track the movement of supplies from points of origin to their final destination, and thereby increase the efficiency of the life-saving response.

A partnership that goes beyond emergencies

In 2010, UNICEF signed its first partnership agreement with the UPS Foundation. Since then, valuable cargo space has been used for essential emergency deliveries to thousands of children. But UNICEF has also been able to make use of the supply chain expertise of UPS and count on support for projects to improve the management of health supply chains.  

UNICEF and the UPS Foundation share the view that countries can improve their own management of health supply chains by leveraging technologies and integrating them into their own processes and practices. One example of this is the Visibility for Vaccines online platform through which UNICEF, supported by the UPS Foundation, established a new visibility standard for countries to manage their vaccine stocks. This platform and related online training support for national and regional stock managers has helped countries better plan and manage their vaccine stocks.

Building on the ViVa platform, UNICEF and the Foundation continue initiating managers towards managing their supply chains digitally via the next generation of the Stock Management Tool.


UNICEF critical supplies being loaded onto a flight to Haiti, in October 2020, as part of UNICEF’s response to children and families affected by Hurricane Matthew.

UNICEF is committed to responding to the needs of every child, and partners with expertise in supply and logistics - like the UPS Foundation - are increasingly important to help deliver results. UNICEF is proud to count the UPS Foundation as one of its partners in support of its work to save the lives and protect the rights of children worldwide.