eVIN to help fight COVID-19: Intelligence network is 'best practice in logistics management for vaccines', says health ministry
eVIN is a mobile- and cloud-based application which lets health workers and those handling the cold chain update information on vaccine stocks after every immunisation session and allows health officials to monitor vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures.
On 3 August, the health ministry announced that India's Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), an indigenously-developed, online logistic management system used to track real-time information on vaccine supply chain and stocks across the country, will be deployed in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Developed, launched and implemented in 2015 by the United Nations Development Programme India to support the Universal Immunisation Programme, eVIN is a mobile- and cloud-based application which lets hundreds of thousands of front line health workers update information on vaccine stocks.
Especially those handling the 'cold chain' (the system of storing and transporting a vaccine at recommended temperatures from the point of manufacture to the point of use), can update vaccine stocks after every immunisation session. The app also allows health officials to monitor vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures.
Developed with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and described by the health ministry as 'a best practice in logistics management for vaccines', eVIN has been implemented in 32 states and Union territories and will soon be introduced in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Ladakh and Sikkim.
As per the health ministry, 23,507 cold chain points across 585 districts of 22 states and two UTs routinely use the eVIN technology for efficient vaccine logistics management and over 41,420 vaccine cold chain handlers have been introduced to digital record-keeping by training them on eVIN.
Nearly 23,900 electronic temperature loggers have been installed on vaccine cold chain equipment for accurate temperature review of vaccines in storage, as per the health ministry statement.
'Reduces waste': UNDP
An evaluation of the system released by the UNDP showed it achieved reduction in utilisation of vaccines from 3,053 lakh doses in pre-eVIN period to 2,149 lakh doses in post-eVIN period across the initial 12 eVIN states, mostly on account of wastage and mismanagement, resulting into savings of approximately 900 lakh (90 million) doses of vaccines.
It also reduced stock-outs by 80 percent, gave an estimated future return on investment of nearly 300 percent and supported a vaccine availability rate of over 99 percent at all cold chain points, as per a 3 August PIB press release.
The UNDP has claimed that eVIN has been embraced by health staff: "Digital record keeping has made vaccine handlers’ work easier. It has also created a sense of agency and shared responsibility. More than 50 percent of the health staff are women who haven’t used the technology before have embraced eVIN with enthusiasm and competency. Having a dedicated a vaccine manager also helps link health and immunisation officers with the ‘last mile’ health workers."
The cold chain sickness rate — a proportion of cold chain equipment that is out of order at any point of time out of total functional equipment — a key indicator which demonstrates the efficiency of the immunisation supply chain, is 1.9 percent in eVIN states compared to 3.4 percent in non-eVIN states (the Government of India has set a threshold of two percent), as per the UNDP.
Which is indicate of better upkeep of equipment, improved reporting of breakdown of equipment, timely repairs and reduced time for cold chain equipment in the eVIN states compared to non-eVIN states, the UNDP has claimed.
“This (eVIN) has ensured that every child who reaches the immunisation session site is immunised, and not turned back due to unavailability of vaccines. eVIN combines state-of-the-art technology, a strong IT infrastructure and trained human resources to enable real time monitoring of stock and storage temperature of the vaccines kept in multiple locations across the country,” the health ministry has stated.
The eVIN has already begun playing its role in the fight against the pandemic. Since April 2020, eight states (Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra) have been using the eVIN application with 100 percent adherence rate to track state specific COVID-19 material, ensure availability and raise alerts in case of shortage of 81 essential drugs and equipment, as per a PIB press release.
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