As Vietnam launches its COVID-19 vaccination drive, preservation and transportation of vaccines play a key role to ensure success. Phillip Alexander Wray, general manager, DKSH Pharma, talked to VIR’s Tung Anh about the company’s contribution to this effort.
DKSH has contributed to the development of the local healthcare sector for years. What have been the main efforts made during the pandemic?
|Phillip Alexander Wray, general manager, DKSH Pharma |
It is our mission to enrich people’s lives by providing access to quality products around the world. In Vietnam we are not only contributing to the healthcare sector, but play an important part in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), performance materials and technology industries. Our invisible yet vital role is to make sure the necessities are widely available within the reach of consumers’ hand in all cities and provinces across the country. We also ensure that technological devices, lab and testing equipment are delivered to needed places; raw materials and ingredients for local production of food and beverage, personal care are well received by the manufacturers for continuous productions. This role has become even more important during the health crisis, especially amid lockdowns. Our employees have been working hard to ensure no disruption occurs in the supply chain, despite various challenges we are facing in heavily infected areas.
On top of that, following our commitment to the sustainable development of the local community where we operate in, DKSH has been supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) and various frontline hospitals in the fight against COVID-19. When the pandemic again hit the north of Vietnam, we donated medical devices, protective equipment, and various necessities to hospitals. We also continue to support the MoH with our humble donation to the national vaccine fund, and are currently working to further support Ho Chi Minh City at our best as it is now the most heavily infected city in the country.
Last but not least, we are currently working closely with the MoH and various manufacturers to facilitate vaccine imports, helping to increase the supply in the country.
As a leading company in pharma, how can DKSH contribute to the current vaccination programme?
As one of Asia’s biggest vaccine distributors, it’s our mission to provide Vietnamese patients and citizens reliable and efficient access to the best healthcare possible, with an emphasis on quality and compliance, leveraging technology wherever possible. There are three key points that would play an important role in the success of vaccine distribution across Vietnam:
- Local market knowledge, expertise, and strong collaboration with vaccine manufacturers: With more than 150 years operating across Asia, one of our greatest assets is deep local market knowledge and understanding of the market’s nuances and its regulations;
- Delivery speed and vast geographical coverage: We have established a strong network of local distribution partners, who are our extensive arms helping us to supply the vaccines to the market; and
- Advanced technology in cold chain management: Vaccines are required to be kept at a specific and consistent temperature during storage and transportation to keep them stable and viable. At DKSH, it is crucial that temperature-sensitive products are handled in a compliant manner throughout the inbound, storage, packaging, and transport. Cold chain temperature monitoring and data logging are important to track if the products have maintained proper temperatures.
Patients in Vietnam are facing challenges in accessing healthcare services during the pandemic What expertise and innovations has DKSH brought to Vietnam to help them and what are the company’s long-term plans in the country?
The healthcare supply chains across Asia are strained as hospitals and healthcare providers are faced with constant challenges posed by the pandemic. In Vietnam, together with our strategic distribution partners, DKSH plays an important role in ensuring access to healthcare products.
We identified that the most critical element in this is the safety of our workforce to keep our supply chain operations intact with as little disruption as possible. As part of a multinational organisation with a presence in 36 markets and more than 33,000 specialists around the world, DKSH strives to take immediate and proactive steps to keep its workforce safe and supply chain operations running by:
- Partnering with leading experts and defining stringent health and safety protocol: we work with International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security company with more than 11,000 multicultural medical, security, and logistics experts to provide support and assistance in over 90 markets. They have vast experience of dealing with pandemics and have helped companies, hospitals, and healthcare businesses across the world establish appropriate pandemic response plans. Together with their doctors, DKSH developed and implemented stringent health and safety protocols, designed specifically for this pandemic; and
- Applying the Total Quarantine Solution: The Total Quarantine Solution (TQS) effectively ensures that our warehouses mirror the quarantine procedures of a hospital during a pandemic. This is done to prevent infected individuals from entering the facilities, our staff stays healthy, and our facilities remain operational at all times.
TQS also provides us with the best method of minimising exposure to extended closures of our facilities due to infection or loss of key operational personnel as a result of mandatory 14-day isolation orders during these times.