Nigeria may have improved access to personal protective equipment following the DFS Africa’s introduction of a structured off-taking channel.
The organisation’s Connecting the Dots Initiative (CDI) is built around a system that blots out bottlenecks in the supply chain of essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies through robust technology platforms that link manufacturers across the continent to individual and institutional consumers such as governments, philanthropic organisations and private sector off-takers.
Unavailability of PPE is a sharp strain that the COVID-19-led disruption has left on supply chain across the globe as key protective products quickly become the most sought-after tool in the race to break the cycle of the fast-spreading disease. With major manufacturing countries pausing operations, many African countries on the consuming side of the coin are left scrambling with what was available within. This has led to hoarding and high-cost burden on hospitals.
But with the intervention of the London-based strategic implementation firm in collaboration with a consortium of partners including the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (FAPMA), African Pandemic Response Alliance (APRA), and Kenya Manufacturing Association, producing and consuming parties will have a seamless meeting point.
While increased local production of these products remains a major craving of many stakeholders in the health industry, DFS’s solution aims at improving the visibility of those manufacturers who are already supplying to organisations that require these products.
“Many African manufacturers have been limited by the unfavourable market conditions that often favour imports. However, given the Covid-19 driven demand for products, the Connecting the Dots Initiative is able to link up those seeking products with the current and latent potential of these producers” said Bankole Eniola, co-founder and chief engagement officer at DFS Africa in a statement provided to BusinessDay.
Many African countries have weak public health systems as a critical challenge and import up to 80 per cent of the continent’s pharmaceutical needs. With the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging all 55 African states, the magnitude of the challenge is huge.
Despite the heavy reliance on import that Africa is known for, DFS Africa and its partners have found that the capacity to ramp up production of these items exists across the continent.
“The platform could potentially greatly benefit FAMPA members. Market access is one of the strategic pillars for the development of the pharmaceutical industry captured in the Africa Union Commission (AUC) endorsed the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA) business plan. This platform would facilitate that process” said Emmanuel Mujuru, FAPMA president.
The CDI platform offers several benefits to suppliers and buyers and is fast becoming the African hub for purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), diagnostic equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other essential clinical products needed to fight current and future pandemics.
Apart from aggregating supply, it promotes ease of payment through the support of major banks and financial institutions across the continent. The platform also guarantees access to critical supplies only from vetted and certified manufacturers.
Olukayode Afolabi, chief operations officer at DFS Africa sees the platform supporting African governments, healthcare institutions and other major buyers of essential Covid-19 products and equipment to access the most critical products in a timely and cost-effective manner.