Emergency response and disaster management: Ministry and WHO combine efforts in improving preparedness

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC)  in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) held an Emergency Response Preparedness Training in Supply Chain and Logistics workshop, in Kadoma, in a bid to strengthen supply chain and logistics management systems within the MoHCC during disease outbreaks.

Efforts are being made to ensure improved response to disease outbreaks such as Cholera especially focusing on management of outbreak supplies at province, district and health facility level.

Zimbabwe has in the recent past been affected by Cholera, typhoid, other disease outbreaks and cyclone Idai.

The five-day workshop in Kadoma sought to develop and strengthen skills and capabilities in emergency response logistics supply chain management concepts and processes,  review and standardise existing MoHCC supply chain management and logistics procedures, develop procurement plans for emergency outbreak supplies at all levels of care as well as share knowledge and experience from response of outbreaks.

The Government of Zimbabwe, private sector partners, international agencies have provided emergency supplies including outbreak response kits, medication, PPE, laboratory consumables during outbreaks.

The workshop attended by 56 Participants (pharmacists, laboratory scientists, administrators and other critical staff) who sought ways to strengthen co-ordination of cholera commodities at MoHCC national, provincial and district levels as well as Metropolitan cities and central hospitals levels.

Following the outbreak of Cholera between September and December 2018 in Zimbabwe, an assessment of the logistics supply chain and re-distribution of commodities was conducted in 9 provinces.

Workshop facilitators were drawn from WHO; UNDP; Pharmacy Directorate Services; Directorate Transport and Administration and Directorate Epidemiology and Disease Control delivered training in e-Logistics Management Information System; Physical aspects of warehouse management, planning and operations; principles and best practices of commodity management; basics of transport planning and transport operations; emergency response preparedness; reports and record keeping practices/ Information.

Deputy Director Communicable disease in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Isaac Phiri hailed this training workshop as it unearthed very critical components in emergency response where logistics is the one of the back-bone components of emergency response.

UNDP eLMIS consulting company CEO Mr Sanji De Silva said the composition of participants was exactly what was needed, the participants feedback was open, resounding and constructive to the implementation of e-LMIS.

Pharmacy directorate in the health ministry indicated that supply chain logistics training was indeed a gap. The training plan was very comprehensive, and the training brought confidence within the health sector.

WHO supply chain specialist Shamiso Nyashanu commented that the purpose of this training was to help healthcare supply chain managers prepare for disasters. She was impressed by how the participants managed to create an ideal standard MoHCC emergency supply chain model that controls the flow of relief commodities from the resource mobilization sources through the chain and until they are delivered to patients.

Other areas covered included emergency response preparedness; supply chain components; prepositioning; WHO cholera kits contents and maintenance practices; standardization of MOHCC documentation for emergency response; donation guidelines; pharmacy, transport and administration supply chain policies aligning with Supply chain emergency response preparedness plan; formulation of emergency response preparedness and coordination teams.