How poor vaccine supply systems put thousands of Kenyans at risk

Monday, April 3, 2017

Outdated vaccine supply and distribution systems are delaying and limiting the impact of vaccines, placing the health of millions of people at risk, according to new articles published in Vaccine journal.

The researchers note that one in every three countries in the world experiences at least one stockout of at least one vaccine for at least one month, while 19 to 38 per cent of vaccines worldwide are accidentally exposed to freezing temperatures, potentially compromising the potency of those vaccines.

The problem is most pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, where 38 per cent of countries, possibly including Kenya, have experienced the stock-outs. Rampant shortage of the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis was reported in Kenya in 2015 and 2016.

This was attributed to delays by manufacturers and procurement agencies rather than the country’s distribution systems. However, Kenya’s vaccine supply chain is fragmented, with clinics and hospitals mostly organising their own collections.

“There are too many places in the world where vaccines are still not reaching the people who need them most,” says Steve Davis, head of the global health nonprofit Path, which coordinated the publication of the current special edition of the journal. The articles identify challenges and point to solutions that countries can employ to modernise their immunisation supply chains.

Source: The Star (link opens in a new window)

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