An interactive database tool designed to achieve continuous quality improvements in cold chain performance
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of vaccine supply chains is no easy task, especially when data is difficult to gather, financing is tight, and there is growing pressure to improve and expand capacity.
Recognizing the urgent need for countries to inventory and better manage supply chain equipment such as refrigerators, cold rooms, and cold boxes, PATH developed a Microsoft Access–based software tool called Cold Chain Equipment Manager (CCEM). The tool can help vaccination programs manage equipment requirements down to the facility level, forecast equipment needs for different scenarios, and generate procurement lists according to national policies. CCEM differs from other available equipment management tools because, in addition to the usual data management, analysis, and reporting functions of a conventional inventory, it allows countries to view the cost and logistical implications of potential programmatic changes through “what if” scenarios such as procedural changes or the introduction of a new vaccine.
When Uganda piloted CCEM in 2007, public health managers found they could introduce human papillomavirus vaccine without buying new refrigerators. They also saw that the primary storage issues were going to be at the national and provincial levels and transitioned resources to those levels to accommodate the increased burden. Since then, the CCEM tool has been a useful reference bank for information about cold chain inventory and status as it can quickly calculate storage capacities, shortages, and surpluses. Not only does CCEM calculate equipment needs over time, it also calculates the annual costs of upgrades and determines the long-term costs of various equipment choices.
In early 2011, the Kenyan EPI team will collaborate with PATH to evaluate how well CCEM 2 can answer some challenging questions such as: What are the cold chain capital and operational costs of introducing pneumococcal vaccine? Through this collaboration, CCEM design and functionality will be evaluated as Kenyan EPI managers generate a cold chain expansion and replacement plan with annual estimated equipment costs associated with introducing newer and bulkier vaccines.
CCEM is a collaborative effort among UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and PATH. The development of the tool and its associated documentation was made possible in part by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of the HealthTech Cooperative Agreement #GPH-A-00-01-00005-00, managed by PATH.