By Emerald Awa-Agwu and Mohammed-Faosy Adeniran
In the last five years, the world has seen a progressive rise in public health emergencies, leading to an increased need for humanitarian aid and relief 1.
During humanitarian response activities, large quantities of supplies including food and non-food items, essential medicines and even, human resources need to be deployed to the areas affected by the crises, within the shortest possible time. Sound logistics and warehousing infrastructure becomes imperative, as it could reduce the lead time and cost of transporting essential supplies to these areas; thus alleviating the disaster2.
Over the years, supply chain professionals have had to strategize to develop resilient, context-appropriate approaches to respond to a wide spectrum of crises in different geographical locations. Warehousing is an essential portion of these approaches as they can greatly enhance a health system’s capacity to be prepared for emergencies by storing needed supplies in central locations so that they can be distributed more promptly, in case of an emergency. During an emergency, they help to shorten the time spent getting aid to the affected people and thus reduce negative outcomes such as hunger, injury and/or death.
Here are some examples of how warehousing and logistics are being used to improve emergency response: