Friday, 30 September 2016

Improving Efficiency of Vaccination Systems through Intelligent Vaccine Management

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been working towards reducing morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases through its Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). The ministry has introduced numerous initiatives to improve the vaccine coverage in the country but there are still critical gaps in the vaccine logistics management system in the country with issues related to inadequate and poor infrastructure, weak monitoring and management information system, vaccine management and issues related to technical capacities of staff.

Districts around the country have been facing challenges related to vaccine coverage because of frequent equipment breakdowns, overstocking and stock-outs, inadequate monitoring and supervision, high rates of breakdown of equipment, overstocking and stock-outs, inadequate monitoring and supervision, and poor management. To overcome these challenges the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and GAVI are rolling out Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) across 12 states in India.

eVIN helps in addressing three critical questions in vaccines logistics management - where vaccines are; whether they are in adequate quantities; and whether they are stored at recommended temperatures?

The eVin system uses a three prompt approach of people, processes and product. The Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) is a technology system that digitizes vaccine stocks through a smartphone application. The technology uses mobile and web based dashboards to track locations, temperatures and stock levels of vaccines, making sure that the supply is safe and reliable. The system helps in providing real time data that can be viewed on a web and application-based dashboard by programme managers across districts, states and national levels. All the data is uploaded on a cloud based server by trained professionals through a smartphone application.

“Seeing health workers being able to show on their smartphones, real time data and having temperature monitoring that can be monitored externally is a really powerful thing” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

With the eVIN system recently being rolled out in districts of Assam, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha; policymakers will be able to make data-informed decisions in planning for vaccine distribution and improving supply chain. As India is the home to the world’s largest birth cohort, planning a healthy future for every child is very essential at all levels.

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