Supply chain information platform to aid in pandemic interventions

Caption: 
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (left) and NEC Corporation Chairman Dr. Nobuhiro Endo

The first ever information platform for supply chains used in pandemic interventions is jointly being developed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and NEC Corporation on behalf of the Global Pandemic Supply Chain (PSC) Network.

The government of Japan has provided $1 million for the PSC Network, which will be used as seed funding for the new platform.

“To achieve any one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we must all do our part, lending our unique expertise and experiences to innovating solutions to global problems," said Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of WFP. ”The creation of this new platform is a prime example of the amazing endeavors that are possible when the public and private sectors work together."

Supply chain logistics are fundamental to any emergency intervention. Inadequate preparedness and response capacity leads to critical delays, costs lives, and wastes precious resources. By bringing together information on supplies and logistics and enabling analysis of supply chain inefficiencies, the new information platform, which will be part of the PSC Network, will promote cost efficiency.

The Global Pandemic Supply Chain Network was formed in response to lessons learned from the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak and discussions that followed at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015, where the need for a collaborative, multi-stakeholder response became clear.

The challenges faced during the West Africa Ebola outbreak included severe warehousing and distribution capacity constraints, limited visibility of the overall supply and demand of critical items, access constraints caused by border closures, and a lack of public-private sector coordination resulting in duplicate efforts and an inefficient response. 

"It is widely recognized that the global health architecture could be reinforced with improved supply chain platform to enable better preparation and faster response time for pandemics," said Hideaki Chotoku, Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Relief Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. "The Japanese government welcomes and is proud to support the PSC Network which also involves Japanese IT technology. We look forward to monitoring its progress in designing this innovative tool."

The founding members of the Network include (representing the public sector) WFP, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, and (representing the private sector) Henry Schein Inc., Becton, Dickinson & Co., and UPS Foundation.

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