Pharma Manufacturing and Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Logistics Solutions

By World Courier |

As the race to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine continues, the logistics challenges posed by the distribution of hundreds of millions of doses all around the world become more evident. Governments globally are preparing for the rollout but some regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, lack infrastructure so will require more upfront investment and logistics planning.
Many of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates require strict temperature-control, which brings with it careful planning for transport, storage and distribution. “The exciting news (…) of a possible effective vaccine becoming available presages significant cold chains challenges for African countries by the type of vaccine that that is,” Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, told a ministerial assembly. “Which will need to be factored into the support to be provided.”

The exciting news (...) of a possible effective vaccine becoming available presages significant cold chains challenges for African countries by the type of vaccine that that is.

matshidiso moeti, regional director for africa, world health organization

How World Courier is Supporting Increasing Requirements in the Region

Even though the biopharmaceutical market in Sub-Saharan Africa is still relatively small and most countries are at the earliest stages of industry development1, the region has significant potential. Manufacturers and pharmaceutical services companies will need to build robust supply chains to support the increased requirements likely to emerge from general industry growth, as well as that specifically related to COVID-19 vaccines and treatment.

Improved logistics infrastructure across the Sub-Saharan part of the continent will enable more robust supply chains, extend healthcare solutions and develop a local industry, which could facilitate job creation and increased market competition. Those are some of the reasons why World Courier has expanded operations in Kenya and South Africa.

Our reputation as the most trusted specialty logistics company extends beyond safe and timely transport solutions. At our GxP compliant storage depots, we protect pharmaceutical companies’ investments at every stage of the product lifecycle. This is why we are pleased to announce that World Courier’s depot license in Johannesburg was recently extended to include commercially approved products.

Additionally, the opening of our second office on the continent, in Nairobi, on 1 October 2020, represents a key milestone in our commitment to expand logistics across the region. It will help strengthen the local infrastructure by providing storage as well as domestic and regional distribution of pharmaceutical products.

Looking Forward – Steps To Take Now

There are currently more than 180 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical research or clinical trials stages across the globe. Manufacturers and public health systems alike must develop comprehensive plans for distribution at a variety of temperature ranges, to ensure that upon approval the vaccine is able to reach those who need it most.

The development of supply chains to support local manufacturing and distribution of both local and international material and products has been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, but the challenges may still be difficult to overcome for some Africa countries.

With over twenty years of experience in the African continent and 18,000+ shipments across the territory in 2019, World Courier supports biopharma companies and public health systems be one step ahead, provide better continuity of supply and extend healthcare solutions in the region.

We are here to help. Please get in touch with our team to discuss how we can develop solutions for your clinical trial and commercial distribution supply chains.


McKinsey & Company — Should Sub Saharan Africa make its own drugs: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/should-sub-saharan-africa-make-its-own-drugs