Online monitoring of vaccine supply extended to 116 districts

ISLAMABAD: A web based Vaccine Logistics Management Information System (vLMIS) first launched in January 2014 in 54 districts of Pakistan, has been scaled-up to 116 districts across the country to provide the tools needed to monitor vaccine storage, planning and distribution flows, and improve accountability.

Provincial and regional Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) managers, country director, Chemonics International Inc. and representatives of World Health Organization and UNICEF were together in a high-profile event on debrief of Vaccine Logistics Management Information System (vLMIS) scaled-up to  116 districts of Pakistan.

For decades, Pakistan has been struggling with immunisation coverage, currently reported at 54% as of 2012-2013 DHS, as opposed to currently improving  immunisation coverage data. Because of the inherent wastages and other factors, Pakistan, with multi-lateral financing support procures approximately 150% of the total vaccines desired due for coverage and availability. One of the major factors responsible for these pendulating coverage figures can be attributed to varying levels of accountability of vaccine coverage, commodity and cold chain data.

Considering both reported and unreported measles related mortality post 2012 outbreak, Pakistan lost more than 3,000 children. Based on recommendations from the Federal Ombudsman, a web based vLMIS was first launched in January 2014 in 54 priority and polio high-risk districts of Pakistan with the collaboration of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of Pakistan. The aim for the development of a web-based vLMIS was to strengthen logistics and inventory management of vaccines in a comprehensive manner and to provide the tools needed to monitor and assess vaccine storage, planning and distribution flows, helping to improve accountability for vaccine consumption, and cold chain data. Given the success of the system, in February 2015, vLMIS was deployed in all districts and towns of Sindh province. In February 2016, with the Government of Punjab and DfID co-financing, it was further scaled up in 13 districts of Punjab, after which 10 districts remained which didn’t have vLMIS deployed. Until November 2017, the vLMIS was only deployed in 96 districts of Pakistan.

There were a remaining 73 districts in Pakistan for vLMIS to be deployed to in addition to 43 districts which were reporting on old format.

With deployment of web-based vLMIS application across the country, Pakistan has achieved a significant ability towards standardisation of logistics reporting system with an unprecedented capability around logistics data visibility and management of vaccines. This scale up activity has certainly graduated Pakistan to the next level of vaccine and cold chain inventory management and data visibility, first time on an agreed uniform reporting format.

Federal EPI National Programme Manager Dr Saqlain Ahmed Gilani, congratulated all on the landmark achievement of standardization of Pakistan DLI-4, vLMIS across the country. He urged Provincial and Regional EPI Managers to utilise the system to full advantage for taking timely decisions for effective implementation of their programme activities

Medical Officer, World Health Organisation, Dr. Quamrul Hasan, expressed gratitude to the efforts of Chemonics International Inc., in imparting quality training and accomplishing a milestone efficiently in such a compressed timeframe.

Chemonics International Inc. Country Director Dr. Muhammad Tariq speaking on the occasion thanked the support of federal and provincial EPI programmes in culmination of the scale-up and reiterated that capacity building of ~400 provincial and district operators with 34 project staff in just 32 active days would not have been possible without the support of EPI programmes.

Federal, provincial and regional EPI managers, highly acknowledged the exceptional support of WHO and Chemonics International Inc. in nationwide deployment of the system that would empower EPI managers with increased power of data visibility around vaccine supply chain enabling informed decision making for ensuring transparency and accountability for vaccination of mothers and children of Pakistan. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2018.

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