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A central and vital part of health systems is an efficient supply chain for the provision of health medical commodities like vaccines, diagnostics, medications, family planning commodities and medical equipment.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is an acute lack of well-trained cadres in health supply chain management (HSCM) at regional and national levels of health systems as well as at decentralized levels. This challenge becomes even more acute during public health emergencies and disasters as the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 have clearly and painfully demonstrated.

The East Africa Community (EAC) seeks to address these SCM challenges for vaccines and other health commodities through incremental capacity improvements. Consequently, the EAC established the EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunisation and Health Supply Chain Management (RCE-VIHSCM) at the University of Rwanda in Kigali through the following instruments:

Zanzibar, April 2014: EAC/SCM/Health/Decision/024: 9th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health approves and proposes a “Multi-National East African Community Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) for Skills and Tertiary Education in Higher Medical and Health Sciences Education Program”

Arusha, September 2014: EAC /CM/Decision/035: 29th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers approved the setup and the implementation arrangements of the EAC RCE-VIHSCM.

The purpose of the RCE is to establish basic and advanced training for health supply chain management (HSCM) in the EAC regional, to support professionalisation of the HSCM cadres and to be a knowledge hub through research and innovation.

The initial funding for the RCE has derived from the German Government’s financial contribution (grant funding) of 10 million EUR (BMZ N° 2015 68 237) through KfW Development Bank, to support the development of the RCE in 2015. The Government of Rwanda and other partners like GAVI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), UN agencies like UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO have all chipped in with supporting and funding the RCE . At the beginning of 2020, the German Government committed an additional grant 14 million EUR to fund the RCE –VIHSCM Strategic Plan 2020/29.

The (EAC) Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunisation and Health Supply Chain Management (RCE-VIHSCM) is one of four African Centres of Excellence (ACEs) housed at the University of Rwanda. Follow the link below to learn more about all UR centres.