Emergency Supply Chain Preparedness and Response

Image of an emergency responder in protective gear during a simulation.

Adverse or "black swan" events have widespread ripple effects, stressing supply chains and health programs and putting patients at risk. These events present unique supply chain challenges: unpredictable demand and strained logistics systems along with complex and expensive resource requirements.

The USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program created a series of emergency supply chain resources to assist countries and organizations in preparing for and responding to infectious disease outbreaks.

Download a copy of the ESC playbook modules in English, French, and Spanish. For more information, send an email to HSSOperations@ghsc-psm.org.

Emergency Supply Chain Playbook

These resources consist of three components:

Best Practices in Supply Chain Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

This report outlines best practices in emergency supply chain preparedness and response efforts. It is based on a review of existing literature in the fields of supply chain management and emergency response, as well as interviews with global and local experts from non-governmental organizations, host-country governments and the private sector.

The Emergency Supply Chain Playbook

The Emergency Supply Chain (ESC) Playbook was developed to provide an essential competencies framework for ESC management to help countries effectively prepare for and respond to epidemic/pandemic threats.

The ESC Playbook includes three modules:

  1. People and Processes
  2. Commodity Planning
  3. Logistics and Transport

Modules cover key topics including how to establish governance, implement structures and protocols, how and when to declare disease outbreaks and define triggers, establish financing, implement quantification and forecasting, procurement, stockpiling, transportation and distribution, data visibility, and disposal and waste management. Countries customize the Playbook to meet their particular needs and contexts.

The ESC Playbook can help countries address questions such as:

  • Do we have an updated contact list for local and international partners with affected supply chains? 
  • Are there funds budgeted for ongoing preparedness and response activities?
  • Who can quickly prepare and validate a commodity list after consulting the in-country offices of the WHO, CDC, or Pandemic Supply Chain Network?
  • Is there a local or regional stockpile available for personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • How do we address emergency commodities such as masks, gloves, and boots which may impact routine supply chains for non-emergencies?
  • Are there any transport/road access issues that will prevent us from distributing key commodities regionally?

Simulation Exercises

These efforts culminate in a multi-day workshop with relevant stakeholders to test country customization of the Playbook and to ensure that the proposed protocols and actions of the ESC Playbook work. Objectives to the workshop are to help stakeholders:

  1. Practice decision-making during an unfolding emergency
  2. Understand and apply best practices on communication and coordination
  3. Understand types of disease outbreaks

Emergency Supply Chain Response in the Context of COVID-19 Webinar

The Global Health Supply Chain Program held a webinar on addressing what emergency supply chain preparedness is and why it matters. During the presentation, presenters also discussed how the Emergency Supply Chain Playbook can help countries prepare for and deploy the necessary systems and tools to respond to major disruptions like COVID-19 and other "black swan" events. View the webinar and download the presentation

These ESC materials were prepared with funding from the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) under the Global Health Supply Chain-Technical Assistance Francophone Task Order in Cameroon. They were subsequently customized at the country level with funding from USAID through the USAID Global Health Supply Chain-Procurement and Supply Management, Integrated Health and Supply Chain-Technical Assistance, and Project Last Mile. With support from the U.S. Government, countries including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Latin America and Caribbean, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire have customized the Playbook to meet their emergency preparedness and response needs.