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LETTERS TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 239-240

Encouraging real-time tracking of vaccines to reduce the risk of stock-outs: World Health Organization


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication11-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvanchery Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_37_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Encouraging real-time tracking of vaccines to reduce the risk of stock-outs: World Health Organization. J Med Soc 2018;32:239-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Encouraging real-time tracking of vaccines to reduce the risk of stock-outs: World Health Organization. J Med Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Feb 19];32:239-40. Available from: http://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2018/32/3/239/214735

Sir,

The coverage of global vaccination across the world remained constant for last few years, with a gradual rise in the uptake of new and existing vaccines in different settings.[1],[2] In fact, it has been proven that immunization can save lives of more than 2–3 million individuals each year and that its effectiveness can be further enhanced by improving the immunization coverage.[2] It is an alarming finding that despite the availability of conclusive evidence of vaccines in reducing the incidence of disease or deaths, more than 19 million infants are still deprived of basic vaccines.[2]

A wide range of determinants such as shortage of vaccines, inaccessibility, lack of affordability, defective cold chain, and poor inventory control has been identified, which can reduce the uptake of vaccines among different population segments.[1],[2] Almost all these potential determinants can be addressed by means of a better coordination between various stakeholders and awareness campaigns in areas with poor vaccination coverage.[1],[2] However, considering the scanty resources, weak health-care delivery system, nil or minimal use of technology, and multiple other health-related competing priorities, the situation becomes quite challenging in rural and remote areas.[1],[2],[3]

In fact, to respond to the problem of vaccine shortage in distant locations and to neutralize the problem of logistic constraints, the Zambian health ministry under the guidance of the World Health Organization has established a web-based logistics management information system in more than thirty establishments.[3] The idea is to negate the possibility of difficulty in tracking down the availability of vaccines and thus their inadequate stocks in various health facilities, especially because none of the maintained records were connected with the national store house.[3] The newly proposed system is a real-time and cost-saving answer to the existing problem in the region.[3]

The real merit of the system is that it enables the concerned managers to supervise the vaccine stocks, their usage, and their expiry date on a minute-by-minute basis by the concerned managers so that appropriate procurement can be made in advance.[3] In addition, it aids in monitoring of the maintenance of the cold chain of the vaccines and thus provides an idea about the effectiveness of the vaccines.[3],[4] Further, there is a definitive option available under which the managers at the central level can provide the required feedback to the peripheral stakeholders to update their utilization status and demands.[3]

Amidst the reality that the manufactured vaccines are expensive in the current era and that it is not a wise option to waste the vaccine, the proposed logistic system is an extremely effective way to deal with multiple facets of the vaccine shortage.[2],[3] In fact, the system has already started to deliver encouraging results with a smooth switch from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine and nationwide campaign of measles and rubella vaccines.[3] The system has been further expanded in more than 110 health facilities due to monetary support from international welfare agencies.[3]

To conclude, the launch of the web-based logistics management information system has enabled health workers to precisely estimate the shortage of vaccine and thus the demand for the same in advance. This has immensely helped in improving the immunization coverage of the nation amidst all other local constraints and is a great boon to the national immunization coverage.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. WHO and UNICEF: Updates on immunization coverage and how can we improve upon? J Res Med Sci 2015;20:1216-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
2.
World Health Organization. Immunization Coverage-Fact Sheet No 378; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs378/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Apr 27].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Zambia Improves Real-Time Tracking of Vaccines, Reduces Stock Outs; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/features/2017/zambia-vaccines-tracking/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Apr 27].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening cold chain mechanism to enhance the effectiveness of immunization program. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2015;2:58-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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