Supply chain solution improves Malawi’s healthcare services

2018-01-26 12:57
Patients outside a healthcare facility in Malawi where solar panels have been installed. “This solar initiative aims to ensure the seamless delivery of healthcare services in the face of prolonged power outages that the country is currently experiencing,” says Heinrich Strauss, managing director at Resolve

FleetWatch often feels that the terminology around the supply chain arena sort of deviates from the essence of what it’s basically all about, namely bringing goods and services to accessible points where communities can benefit.

The delivery of bread and milk involves a supply chain, the building of houses involves a supply chain in getting the bricks and cement to the sites, the delivery of food to supermarket shelves involves a supply chain. And there are always trucks involved. But what about health services?

Well, one such example of a healthcare supply chain solution resides in a solar energy project that is ensuring patients at hospitals in Malawi are not compromised by power outages. This is the latest healthcare supply chain solution delivered in the region by Imperial Logistics company, Resolve.

As part of its plan to develop healthcare infrastructure in Malawi, the country’s Ministry of Health embarked on a US$3,7-million (R43,9-million) project to install solar energy at 85 health facilities nationwide.

The Ministry of Health contracted non-profit organisation PFSCM (The Partnership for Supply Chain Management) to procure and install the solar panels, and PFSCM awarded a subcontract to Resolve Solution Partners for the installation and a three-year maintenance programme.

“This solar initiative aims to ensure the seamless delivery of healthcare services in the face of prolonged power outages that the country is currently experiencing,” says Heinrich Strauss, managing director at Resolve

According to Strauss, district hospitals and health centres in remote areas of Malawi have been the worst affected by power outages. Big city hospitals have been less affected, although they have had to use generators to maintain operations at times, which are costly to run.

According to Malawi’s Ministry of Health, the goal of this solar project is to prioritise saving lives and curbing power disruptions, especially in key hospital sections like theatres, maternity wings, intensive care units and the section for children under five.

The hospitals that are benefiting include Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Zomba Central Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital. Each of these facilities will be fitted with solar panels providing 100 kW of power.

In addition to installing the panels, panel arrays and photovoltaic systems, Resolve’s contract includes the installation of solar powered streetlights at the hospitals, together with solar geysers and air conditioners. Heat reflecting paint will also be applied at 16 hospitals.

This project marks the third healthcare supply chain solutions project that PFSCM and Resolve have partnered on in Malawi. “Last year, PFSCM and Resolve installed 115 prefabricated storage units across the country using Resolve’s Storage-in-a-Box solution. After the success of this project, PFSCM and Resolve were awarded the roll-out of a further 95 Storage-in-a-Box units, which were completed at the end of October 2017,” Strauss says.

Resolve’s innovative Storage-in-a-Box solution consists of prefabricated 70m² modular storage units that are pharmaceutical-compliant, validated, fully outfitted and can be deployed immediately. Delivered in 40 ft (12m) containers, Storage-in-a-Box brings supply chain solutions to both remote and urban settings with ease, allowing supply networks to develop where they are needed, not just where they have traditionally been able to be deployed.

“We look forward to the completion of our solar undertaking in Malawi and are proud of the ongoing role that Resolve is playing in improving healthcare in the country,” Strauss concludes. And so you should be! Good stuff there.

To add muscle to my opening statement that there are always trucks involved in supply chain solutions, have a look at this video of the Storage-in-a-Box healthcare solution undertaken by Resolve in Malawi. And please note the critical role trucks play in providing the solution. They are key to success. Let’s never forget the role they play in the supply chain.

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