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Private sector collaboration critical for viable public healthcare —ARC Nigeria

Experts have expressed concerns about what they described as Nigeria’s huge supply chain and logistics challenges, offering opportunities for massive impact.

To change the paradigm, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain, ARC Nigeria, a collaboration of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, advocates private sector collaboration in the country in order to strengthen public health supply chain.

He experts noted that particular emphasis was on the availability of vaccines, essential medicines, and medical products.

Speaking during a maiden ARC Partnership Forum recently in Lagos, CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, said the private sector had the expertise, resources, and capabilities that the public health sector could benefit from to improve the availability of medicines, health commodities, and provide effective and resilient supply chain systems.

Referencing a Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry 2014 survey of transport and logistics, Umar-Sadiq noted that a recent World Bank ranking showed that Nigeria underperformed when weighed against global and regional peers on key levers of logistics and supply chain efficiency.

The 2014 Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry transport and logistics survey showed that 25 percent of annual profit of industrial operators in Lagos State was lost to “clumsy transportation system.”

“More worrisome is the fact that studies confirm shortage of logistics staff and managers, while universities in Nigeria are not aligned with industry or government needs in supply chain capacity,” he lamented.

Umar-Sadiq said ARC Nigeria aimed to achieve an improved performance of the supply chains to increase the availability of medical health commodities; arguing that, “collectively, the private sector possesses both tangible and intangible assets that give it a distinct advantage in tackling specific health issues, including building resilient supply chain systems.”

In her submission, the Regional Director, ARC Nigeria, Azuka Okeke, said, “ARC Nigeria is currently working to build a centralised and regional supply chain resource centre that can provide independent advice, develop partnerships and share experiences and learning across countries to help ministries of health meet their public health goals.”

“ARC is focusing on areas that collectively leverage supply chain expertise, tools and capabilities to support performance improvements in the public health system.

“These areas include supporting supply chain strategy, advocate for supply chain investments and providing independent advice and expertise; supporting health ministries to shape investments and align donors and implementing partners,” Okeke noted.

In his view, Global Solutions Director, UPS Foundation, Jim Coughlan pointed out that the biggest opportunity was finding ways to engage the private sector, given their knowledge level and intellectual capital in supply chain management.

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