Africa Resource Centre, Nigeria (ARC Nigeria) is partnering with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to implement the GAVI Strategic Training for Executive Programme (STEP) in Nigeria.
GAVI, is a public–private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunization in poor countries. The STEP program is aimed at providing healthcare personnel with non-technical leadership training, skills and competencies that are engrained in private sector supply chain managers so immunization managers can effectively fulfil their roles.
Speaking at the kick-off event for the STEP program held in Abuja, the Senior Supply Chain Consultant/STEP Program Manager for GAVI – Magloire Achidi, explained that GAVI recognizes the critical importance of investing in skills development for global vaccine supply chain leaders. As a result, GAVI is partnering with UPS to provide health supply chain management professionals and decision makers in various countries across Africa with the core leadership and management skills at all levels of the health system to enable them overcome existing and emerging challenges.
Magloire Achidi, Senior Supply Chain Consultant/STEP Program Manager, GAVI engaging participants on the GAVI STEP training in Nigeria
“Strong leadership skills are recognized as one of the critical enablers required to drive improvement within a country’s immunization supply. GAVI’s goal is to make potent vaccines available to every child in every district. However, without strong management and well trained staff, weaknesses in the system go unaddressed, resulting in vaccine wastage” Mr. Achidi explained.
He continued by stating that “STEP provides a continuous learning experience, utilizing a blend of instructor-led classroom sessions and distance learning assignments. The program provides instruction in people management, problem solving, communication, project management and professional development competencies. The audience for the STEP program are higher-level managers that have oversight and direct impact on the supply chain.”
Lending her view, Azuka Okeke – Country Director for ARC Nigeria, noted that supply chain management requires dedicated and competent immunization supply chain leaders with adequate numbers of skilled, accountable, motivated at all levels of the health system hence the need for the GAVI STEP training in Nigeria. ARC Nigeria was founded by Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and will be supporting GAVI with the implementation of the STEP program in Nigeria.
Azuka Okeke, Country Director for ARC Nigeria explaining the need for strong supply chain managers, hence the need for the GAVI STEP training
Giving an overview of immunization supply chain in the country, Pharm. Ekpemauzor explained that despite the success of the routine immunization programme, the national vaccine supply chain is under major strain to effectively manage the surge of new vaccine introductions, population growth and increase in desired coverages.
She highlighted some of the achievements of the Department of Logistics and Health Commodities (DLHC) including the creation of the Vaccine Stock Performance Management (VSPM) dashboard in collaboration with development partners which collects data from 744 LGAs, 36 States +FCT, 6 zonal stores and the National Strategic Cold Store (NSCS). The weekly review of the VSPM dashboard has created visibility for the first time across the system, thus enabling management at NPHCDA and other stakeholders respond to the stock level reports at National, State and LGA levels.
According to her, there is the need to adapt new delivery strategies, or benefit from new technological advances in cold chain equipment to increase their efficiency and effectiveness in Nigeria.
The kick-off event for GAVI STEP had in attendance Hajia Daradara, Acting Director, DLHC; Strategy, Policy & Decision makers; senior supply chain managers; immunization managers from National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and State National Primary Healthcare Development Agency drawn from 19 states.