EVM - setting a standard for the vaccine supply chain

With the rising cost of vaccines and the greater storage capacity now required at every level of the cold chain, countries must maintain lower stock levels, reduce wastage, accurately forecast vaccine requirements, and prevent equipment break-downs.

This requires a consistently high standard of supply chain management, which can only be achieved if all the links in the supply chain comply with current standards for storage and distribution.

The EVM initiative provides materials and tools needed to monitor and assess vaccine supply chains and help countries to improve their supply chain performance.

WHO-UNICEF have designed the Global Effective Vaccine Management (EVM) initiative to help countries to improve the quality of their vaccine and cold chain management from the time the vaccine arrives in their country down to the service delivery point.

It is based on nine basic indicators listed below:

  1. 1. Vaccine arrival procedures
  2. 2. Vaccine storage temperatures
  3. 3. Cold storage capacity
  4. 4. Buildings, cold chain equipment and transport
  5. 5. Maintenance of cold chain equipment and transport
  6. 6. Stock management
  7. 7. Effective vaccine delivery
  8. 8. Vaccine Management practices
  9. 9. SOPs and Supportive Management Systems

It consists of a series of focused questions, which are numerically scored based on the observed practices and records of the past 12 months, against recommended standards.

The questions under the 9 indicators can be divided into 7 management implementation categories: Building, Storage Capacity, Equipment, Management issues, Repair and Maintenance, Training and Vehicles.

UNICEF has been supporting EVM assessments in many states, covering state, regional, district vaccine stores and health facilities.

Based on facts collected from the field and recommendations developed by assessment team members, improvements plans are prepared, to address gaps in the system.