According to a World Bank report.

A World Bank working paper entitled “India COVID-19 Procurement: Challenges, innovations and lessons”, which was published in July, mentioned the supply chain challenges faced by India during the pandemic and its response. innovative.

It takes a close look at the initiatives taken by the Center to ensure a sustained supply of essential medical products during the critical initial phase of the pandemic, including efforts to develop the local market using a whole-of-government approach.

The document lists some global experiences and summarizes the supply innovations undertaken by the Centre, including its efforts to develop the domestic market for Covid essentials and lifesaving equipment.

A unique feature in India was the active role of the private sector in testing, contributing almost 50% of laboratories as well as venture capital, mobilizing additional resources to support domestic manufacturing of Covid products and developing innovation assisted by IT for teleconsultation and intensive tests. management of intensive care units (ICUs), the report points out.

Severe global supply chain constraints for Covid essentials and unprecedented demand for life-saving equipment have led to an entirely supplier-driven market and huge price variation, according to the report.

Challenges India faced included extremely limited domestic production capacity of essential medical equipment, inadequate market information, wide variation in the intensity of the pandemic from state to state, constraints price and supply due to increased demand worldwide and no previous experience. to manage a pandemic of this magnitude.

To address this concern, the government has taken responsibility for centralized procurement to support states. Flexibility within existing legal frameworks and budgets helped speed procurement, while empowered groups helped speed decision-making.

The country also imposed export restrictions early on and encouraged, facilitated and financed the private sector to support domestic manufacturing and the establishment of laboratory facilities.

This allowed an acceleration of imports initially and the development of local markets thereafter.

The Central Procurement Division (CPD) and the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) Division of the Ministry of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) led India’s initial efforts to support supply chains. sourcing, supported by HLL Lifecare Limited as sourcing agent. .

While the CPD was primarily focused on providing personal protective equipment (PPE), goggles and N95 masks to protect healthcare workers, the ICMR quickly strengthened the testing infrastructure in partnership with the private sector. and implemented a validation mechanism to increase availability. of Covid testing supplies, according to the report.

This has led to the development of specific standards, sourcing appropriate raw materials, ensuring labor availability and maintaining efficient supply chains to deliver finished goods in a timely manner. to the states.

”A Whole of Government approach involving all key Ministries and State Governments has been followed while ensuring a clear separation of roles and responsibilities of the various committees involved in procurement. Industry support, expedited tendering and pre-shipment inspections by relevant agencies, including random sample testing, have helped ensure product quality,” the report said.

Along with better access to these critical inputs for frontline health workers, the initiative has also helped bring down prices for these essential Covid supplies sharply, he noted.

For example, the price of N95 masks fell from Rs 250 to Rs 20 and that of PPE from Rs 700 to Rs 150. Similarly, the price of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test kits, used as a standard -or to confirm Covid infection, has risen from Rs 1,207 to Rs 72 and price of ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction kits has risen from Rs 336 to Rs 37, while that of viral transport media went from Rs 182 to Rs 24 in six months.

Once the market had adequate vendors that met established standards, CPD and ICMR ensured that their products were listed on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), which enabled states to place their orders directly, according to the report.

The long-term implications of market development in globalized supply chains require carefully calibrated export controls to balance domestic needs with global market opportunities for locally manufactured goods.

The document also highlights the added value provided by the World Bank under the India-COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project, which provided $1.5 billion in joint financing. by the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The scope of the document is limited to documenting these innovations at the national level to help subnational governments improve access to essential Covid commodities. Vaccine supply is not part of the analysis as it often involved multilateral and bilateral contracts as well as special supply chain arrangements. PTI PLB RC

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)