One central and vital part of health systems is an efficient supply chain management for the provision of health institutions with medical commodities like vaccines, diagnostics, medications, medical equipment and products for family planning.
Currently there is an acute lack of well-trained specialists on regional and national level of health systems as well as on district level and general health facilities being able to adequately manage and modernize such supply chains.
The East Africa Community (EAC) seeks to address challenges of vaccine and other commodities supply chain management by addressing weaknesses in human resource capacity.
Therefore, the EAC established a regional Centre of excellence (RCE) at the University of Rwanda in Kigali, School of Public Health (UR/SPH) in order to strengthen the above stated competences.
Below is the succession of the policy–based decisions leading the establishment of the Center:
- 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 approves the implementation arrangements of the Centers of Excellence across the EAC states members.
The purpose of the Centre is to establish basic and advanced trainings for health supply chain management (HSCM) in the health sector of the EAC and a regional focal point for the introduction and distribution of innovation and proven procedures. The RCE must be regionally interconnected.
The German Government has committed a financial contribution (grant funding) amounting to 10 million EUR (BMZ N° 2015 68 237) to the EAC via the KfW Development Bank, to support the development of the RCE. The contract was signed in December 2015. Other partners like GAVI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have supported the project preparation. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW) provides co-financing through GAVI, for scholarships. UN agencies like UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO are supporting the initiative. As overall management of activities supported by different partners is an additional challenge, the Project Executing Agency (PEA) is assisted by an international consultant.