Increasing access to health products for children and families

Strong national health supply chains are life-saving, critical foundations of child and family wellbeing, helping to ensure that all children and their families can be treated in the best way possible, at the right time and in the right place. They enable public welfare systems to function well and are a driving force toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. But limited coordination or lack of human and financial resources or data keep life-saving medicines and products far from the children they are meant to protect. Leading procurement agencyAt UNICEF we work with governments and partners to strengthen national supply chains, focusing on people, operations and processes, policy and regulatory frameworks, and financing and resource mobilization. We are the leading agency globally for procurement and delivery of comprehensive primary health care for children, their families and their communities. We operate and support full end-to-end supply chains, from point of production to children. This helps us to understand the weak links and where to invest to save lives. This means that donors’ funds are used where they are most needed and have most impact. Overcoming logistical obstaclesUNICEF works with partners to drive evidence-informed supply chain management decision-making capacity to ensure higher levels of equitable access to health products and services. Expert in bolstering coordination, increasing financial and human resources, and leveraging on data-driven insights, UNICEF can overcome logistical hurdles and maximize the use of resources. UNICEF is 100 per cent voluntarily funded and is seeking support to meet a set of ambitious health targets.This publication highlights key supply chain development needs and outlines UNICEF's solutions to partners to ensure children have greater access to health supplies and services. Through strategic investments, innovative approaches and the support of partners, UNICEF is revolutionizing supply chain management to safeguard the well-being of the next generation.

“It's like in the movies, but this is not a movie. This is reality. This is our lives.”

Amidst the sounds of war, Olga and her nine-year-old daughter Leona faced the heart-wrenching decision to flee their home in Kyiv. With each passing day, the threat of being cut off from the world loomed larger, as nearby areas lost electricity and essential services. "We have to leave our homes, our relatives, our friends, and go to other…, Access to the essentials , Over six million Ukrainian children are in need of humanitarian assistance, both inside Ukraine and in other countries to which they have fled, many of whom are deprived of basic necessities and living under the constant threat of violence. One of the most urgent needs is access to Water and sanitation supplies safe water, sanitation and hygiene (…, Relying on traditional supplies was not enough , UNICEF typically procures individual WASH items such as soap, buckets, water purification tablets, detergent and sanitary pads from multiple suppliers globally on a “best value for money” principle. These goods are then delivered to our network of global supply hubs where they are packed and stored as kits, ready to be delivered to children in…, Fast-track contracts, “With the disruptions and delays we saw, it was obvious that relying on our traditional suppliers in China and India would not get WASH kits to Ukrainian children quickly enough,” says Aurelia Gasca, WASH Contracts Manager at UNICEF Supply Division. Sourcing supplies from Türkiye and Bulgaria meant they could be transported overland, avoiding…, Delivering the goods, Working closely with teams on the ground, UNICEF developed WASH kits customized for different vulnerable groups. Distribution is prioritized for the worst-hit areas of Eastern Ukraine. For mothers and children fleeing their homes, UNICEF provides hygiene kits for people on the move. Containing just the essentials like soap, sanitary pads and…, Responding to rapidly changing realities , In 2023, over 163,000 of various types of kits have reached more than 932,000 people across Ukraine. The year before, in 2022, supplies were distributed to at least 866,120 people in Ukraine affected and displaced by the war. “While the crisis continues, flexibility and responsiveness will be key,” Gasca emphasizes. “By working hand-in-hand with…

Traceability and Verification System (TRVST)

Counterfeit and falsified medicines are estimated to cause the death of 169,000 children under 5 every year. This shocking situation is driven by a US$30 billion per year counterfeit and falsified medicines industry in low- and middle-income countries. In response, UNICEF and partners have developed the Traceability and Verification System (TRVST…, Risk of additional harm, As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines ramped up worldwide, so did the production of counterfeit and falsified vaccines and related supplies. Today, it is estimated that one in ten medical products in low- and middle-income countries are counterfeit or falsified. For the individual child, not only do counterfeit medicines often fail to treat the…, How TRVST works, TRVST relies on a global repository that stores health product information, such as Global Trade Item, serial and batch numbers, as well as production and expiry dates. This data is fed into TRVST by medical product manufacturers. Using a GS1 barcoding technology TRVST allows users – such as health care workers, regulatory authorities and customs…, Benefits of TRVST, The success of the TRVST is contingent on participation by governments as well as on engagement by manufacturers to serialize their products in emerging markets and register them in the global repository. As vaccine manufacturers and Strengthening national supply chains national supply chain and regulatory systems begin to automatically integrate…, Expanding TRVST, While COVID-19 vaccines were the first products covered by TRVST, it has since been expanded to include childhood vaccines, HIV and tuberculosis treatments, reproductive health supplies, anti-malarial items, and a range of essential medicines. By end-2023, nearly ten manufacturers were registering their products in TRVST which includes over 125…, Featured video

Adolescent and adult tetanus-containing vaccines: market and supply update – December 2023

This update provides information on adolescent and adult tetanus-containing vaccines, including global supply, demand and pricing trends, and highlights the transition from tetanus toxoid to tetanus-diphtheria. Summary:  Tetanus is a serious illness contracted through exposure to the spores of the bacterium, Clostridium tetani. The bacteria can enter the body through deep cuts, wounds or burns affecting the nervous system. The infection leads to painful muscle contractions. Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a poison (toxin) that causes a thick grey or white patch at the back of throat. This can block the airway making it hard to breathe or swallow and create a barking cough. The toxin may also get into the blood stream causing complications, inflammation and damage of the heart muscle, inflammation of nerves, kidney problems, and bleeding problems. UNICEF procures adolescent and adult tetanus-diphtheria containing vaccines (TdCV) for use in routine immunization (RI) as well as in campaigns supporting Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE), and adult diphtheria prevention. This note provides updated market information on adult TdCV (Td, Tdap, Tdap-IPV). The UNICEF/WHO/UNFPA partnership and the Strategic Plan 2018–2020 sought to ensure that at least 53 countries were validated as having eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) by 2020.4 As of November 2023, 47 countries out of 59 at risk have eliminated MNT. UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA are finalizing their Strategic Plan - Post 2020 for Achieving and Sustaining Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE). The objective is to achieve MNTE in all 12 remaining countries and, subsequently, to ensure that MNTE is sustained in all countries. Following outbreaks of diphtheria, WHO has recommended replacing TT vaccine with Td vaccine for a double protection. From 2014 to 2022, with the transition from TT to Td, the demand for Td vaccine through UNICEF multiplied six times. Despite the increased demand of Td vaccine, there is sufficient market supply to meet the demand. The tetanus-containing vaccines market is a healthy market with worldwide fifteen manufacturers of Td vaccine and five WHO prequalified vaccines. The WHO prequalified manufacturers have a combined production capacity for Td vaccine of 500 million doses annually. In 2022, the tetanus containing vaccine (TCV) global demand across all vaccines was approximately 355 million doses. The global demand for Td vaccine was 316 million doses, approximately 90 per cent of the total demand for TCV. The demand of Td vaccine through UNICEF is, approximately, 40 per cent of the global demand (130–140 million doses). In 2022, UNICEF established long-term arrangements (LTAs) with four manufacturers for the supply of Td vaccines, in 10 and 20 dose vial presentations, to cover the supply period 2023–2027. In 2023, UNICEF together with Td vaccine suppliers, has been able to secure the required capacity to respond to a diphtheria outbreak in West Africa. Moving forward, continuous monitoring and support

Supply chains save lives

During the COVID-19 pandemic it became widely understood that strong supply chains have the power to save lives.Many countries face a myriad of challenges in their supply chain systems including limited data visibility, financing challenges, fragmented procurement processes, and limited warehousing, storage and distribution challenges. These are further compounded by an inadequately staffed and skilled supply chain workforce.  These bottlenecks limit the availability of products, trigger service interruptions and undermine the safety of recipient communities, particularly hard-to-reach populations.  For example, in 2021, five million children globally missed out on basic vaccines, 13.6 million children under the age of 5 suffered from severe wasting, and 698 million lacked basic sanitation services at school.The pandemic underlined that we depend on resilient supply chains to ensure uninterrupted delivery and scale-up of health, nutrition, education, and water, hygiene and sanitation services.Bridging the gapThe publication “Supply chains saves lives” presents evidence that closer multi-stakeholder coordination, increased government financing capacity and enhanced data visibility and digitalization can bridge the gap in access so that the life-saving supplies and services reach the children they are meant to protect.It outlines eight recommendations to overcome supply chain barriers and accelerate children’s access to the supplies and treatments they need.Accelerate access to reliable supply chain data and technology to support decision-making;Promote supply chain environmental, social and economic sustainability;Strengthen service delivery systems and quality of care all the way to the last mile;Increase public financing for supplies and reforming fiscal policies;Support local production and manufacturing of supplies, including through market-shaping;Enhance governance, private sector involvement and multi-partner coordination;Invest in supply chain workforce development; andFoster and strengthen global partnerships in a post-pandemic future.These interventions are essential to support governments as they strive to strengthen their supply chains and provide children, their families and communities with access to the quality health, nutrition, education and WASH products and services they deserve.