By Hardeep Sound, Regional Sales Director: East Africa at SAP
NAIROBI, Kenya, April 7, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – As the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Africa for one year, all eyes are on the ability of countries to ensure, import and distribute vaccines that have proven effective in the fight against the new coronavirus.
The pandemic has highlighted the glaring gap between the developed world and the developing world. Rich nations have been able to obtain and store hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines, while many poorer countries, including those in Africa, are still in the planning and procurement stages.
Kenya requires 30 million doses of vaccine to vaccinate 60% of its population, which is in line with the guidelines published by GAVI to achieve herd immunity. The country expects to receive 24 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine through the WHO COVAX facility, and an additional 12 million doses are expected through bilateral agreements. Kenya will also receive additional doses through the African Union’s African Vaccine Procurement Task Force, although details on this are still vague.
While it is very encouraging that more vaccines are available and that Kenyan citizens will soon be able to receive much needed doses, immense challenges remain.
Supply chain constraints challenge vaccine launch
Vaccine delivery and delivery at the scale of COVID-19 is a monumental challenge. The stakes are high because supply chain disruptions can impede vaccine delivery and negatively affect public confidence.
Delays are paid for in human lives and the prospect of herd immunity disappears. Reacting quickly to unexpected interruptions is key and is only possible if the entire supply chain, from procurement to production to delivery, is managed from start to finish.
According to the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Introduction Assessment Tool, African countries have an overall score of only 33% readiness to implement vaccines in their populations.
The challenge is compounded by the very specific conditions in which vaccines must be stored, transported and handled throughout the supply chain.
Pharmaceutical companies take advantage of technology
Fortunately, many of the leading pharmaceutical companies responsible for the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines have developed extensive digital capabilities. Today, 18 of the world’s top 20 vaccine producers are already running their production on SAP solutions that cover their end-to-end processes, from manufacturing to controlled distribution, administration and post-vaccine monitoring.
For example, SAP Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals is helping Moderna comply with international legislation aimed at preventing counterfeit drugs from reaching patients. The application provides a corporate serialization repository, serial number management, and regulatory reporting capabilities.
German vaccine producer CureVac, whose COVID-19 vaccine is currently in testing, uses SAP to manufacture and distribute vaccines on a global scale.
Additionally, the Vaccine Collaboration Hub (VCH), an extension of SAP’s business network, supports large-scale vaccination programs like the one needed for COVID-19. It covers the process from start to finish, from manufacturing to controlled distribution and administration, as well as post-vaccine monitoring.
The Role of Technology in Kenya’s Vaccination Efforts
Emerging, emerging and established technologies have a role to play in Kenya’s current race to vaccinate its population. For example, trying to identify which people require vaccines with some prioritization attempt could leverage data, data mining, data science, and patient segmentation based on various demographics, risk profiles, and patient history.
To track vaccine distribution across the country, a combination of technologies including blockchain, analytics, built-in scanners, location-tracking tags, and mobile apps could provide a framework for displaying relevant subsets of information to different stakeholders in the supply chain. supply.
In terms of patient engagement, self-service appointment booking, customer experience platforms, and capturing patient feedback via apps and kiosks at the contactless clinic can help determine how well physicians are doing their duty. Similar platforms can be leveraged to focus on the employee experience, offering insight into the mental well-being of front-line healthcare professionals and reducing the risk of burnout.
Going forward, machine learning and streaming analytics could help identify uneven patterns in data that speak to issues within procurement, production, logistics or financial audits. IoT, 5G, LoRa (long-range networks), and edge computing enable a wide range of use cases, in which sensors can determine the conditions under which stocks are manufactured, stored, or shipped, and enable them to act before a critical response. major incidents arise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to countries around the world, and Kenya is no exception. As the country prepares for the vital vaccine distribution process, it is critical that there are no undue delays or interruptions. This will also give citizens the confidence that the medicines they are obtaining are safe and efficient. Technology can play a valuable supporting role in ensuring a successful vaccine launch in Kenya.
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