Towards Effective Vaccine Logistics in Madhya Pradesh
Every year India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recognizes high-impact innovations in healthcare that can be scaled-up by states. We are excited to report that in 2016, the roll-out the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (Evin) in Madhya Pradesh featured at the National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in the Public Healthcare System.
In an interview with UNDP, V Kiran Gopal, Mission Director, National Health Mission in Madhya Pradesh says that since the introduction of eVIN, the central Indian state has been able to effectively manage vaccine inventories across the state, an exciting step in the country’s efforts to immunize every mother and child that requires it.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in implementing India’s immunization programme?
Implementing any programme that involves delivering material to a particular area and administering it to people involves two things; one is to manage inventory so we know how much is available and when stocks run low, which helps in decision making. And the second, is to actually administer this to people. Before the implementation of eVIN, it was time-consuming to collect data from the field and this in turn delayed our decision making. So we were not able to plan optimally. Now we have real time information at our fingertips and so planning and inventory management has become more effective. In Madhya Pradesh we have not faced any shortages since we started using this technology.
How has eVIN helped to maintain vaccine inventories?
Effective inventory management involves identifying those critical “moments” such as when vaccines fall short in a particular area, or are expired but still kept in storage because of a mistake. It is also about smooth coordination between stores in the field, for example if store A has excess of a particular vaccine required by Store B, then how do we have this information so we may quickly make the necessary transfers. Through such an approach we are able to save time and utilize resources much better. Being able to optimally use resources is the most important outcome of using a software like eVIN.
What has been the impact of eVIN on Madhya Pradesh’s health system?
eVIN has been extremely useful for us and in improving overall, the health system because a well-functioning system depends on how accurate is our supply of vaccines. The more efficiently this system is managed, the more efficient will be our health systems. I don’t have to stack up excess vaccines at the district or state level. I know just how much I require through eVIN.
One of the fabulous insights eVIN provides me is a geographic overview of each district in terms of vaccine availability. This provides us an at-a-glance picture of the entire state. We have accurate information on stock-outs and excess stock, or when the temperature of a vaccine storage facility falls below the optimum level. In particular, the additional feature of being able to monitor temperatures real-time has helped us ensure vaccines are stored in the best possible way, to ensure they are absolutely safe when administered to children.
Having a state-wide picture helps in daily reporting, and in planning the next immunization drive. So every day, our health systems are improving. We no longer have to wait for three days to generate a report on vaccine delivery status, we know immediately what action we need to take.
I believe that the improvements in our immunization rates from one immunization drive to another can be attributed to the use of eVIN.
How do you feel about eVIN being recognized at the National Summit on Healthcare Innovation?
I was proud to share Madhya Pradesh’s experience with other states and reiterate to my state partners that this a technology that is user- friendly and practical. Madhya Pradesh has been able to generate enormous savings reducing vaccine wastage and by ensuring timely availability of quality vaccines. In Rewa district for example, we were able to save over US$ 70,000 in just six months after implementing eVIN. The pace with which eVIN was implemented in my state is also laudable. We could make all the vaccine cold chain points and equipment live on eVIN in just nine months, which includes capacity building, digitization of stock and installation of temperature loggers.