• The summit will focus on Covid-19 vaccine distribution roadmap for Africa.
  • The event is presented by AmerisourceBergen World Courier.

February 22, 2021: Logistics Update Africa will host Vaccine Logistics Virtual Summit on February 25, 2021 at 1400 hrs EAT. The three-hour online conference, by the STAT Media Group's African publication, is presented by AmerisourceBergen World Courier while Kenya-based all-cargo airline Astral Aviation comes in as platinum partner.

As Africa preps up for its largest-ever immunisation drive, planned vaccines delivery dates and next steps, the continent needs to urgently address the challenges with regard to cold chain and infrastructure. Many of the Covid-19 vaccines require strict temperature-control, which call for careful planning for transport, storage and distribution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine introduction readiness assessment tool, African nations are on average 42 percent ready for their mass-vaccination campaigns, which is an improvement on the starting point of 33 percent two months ago. However, there is still a long way to go to reach the desired benchmark of 80 percent.

"We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalise their national vaccine deployment plans. Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from ports of entry to delivery. We can't afford to waste a single dose," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa in a statement.

To address these key logistical concerns and to bring to the table possible solutions, this virtual conference, themed %u2018Is Africa prepared to get the Covid-19 jab?' will serve as a high level forum bringing together the supply chain leaders representing pharmaceutical manufacturing, freight forwarding, cargo airlines and airports to share insights and perspectives through a wealth of presentations, one-on-one interviews and a power-packed panel discussion.

The keynote for this all-important summit will be presented by Mounir Bouazar, global logistics lead for Covid-19 Vaccines and Related Supplies, UNICEF. UNICEF is one of the leading partners of the Global COVAX facility, set up to ensure that the 190 participating countries have equitable access to two billion doses of vaccine by the end of the year. Bouazar will focus on UNICEF's recent partnership with 16 airlines for the distribution of vaccines. Incidentally, Astral Aviation, the platinum partner for this summit, is also one among the 16 airlines that has signed up with UNICEF to prioritise transport and delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and related supplies.

Confirmed speakers for the event include Remo Hanselmann, regional director Africa, World Courier; Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO, Astral Aviation; Bridget Barnard, cluster lead global supply chain, Sub Saharan Africa, Pfizer; Jo Tierens, senior director - global public health supply chain, Janssen Supply Chain; Claude Mangobo, logistics and supply chain officer, World Health Organisation (WHO); Bonaventura Nestory Muhindi, cold chain manager, ministry of health, Tanzania; Jack Bwana, commercial manager, cargo, Kenya Airports Authority; Willy Soriney, chairperson, Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI); and Anthony Diack, managing director, DSV Healthcare.

The summit is targeted at and will see participation from supply chain professionals representing pharmaceutical companies, airlines, airports, distributors and freight forwarders amongst several others.

In the run-up to the global roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, STAT Media Group had organised a similar virtual event named Global Vaccine Logistics Virtual Summit in November 2020 in collaboration with its Indian publication Indian Transport & Logistics News (ITLN). The event witnessed massive participation of representatives from world-leading airlines, airports, logistics service providers and pharmaceutical players, who discussed their plans for the vaccine distribution.

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