What is the MIA and COVID Project?

BI Norwegian Business School (BI) is conducting interesting projects, which involves the Centre for Global Health (CGH) at the University of Oslo (UiO) and its partners, specifically aiming to design supply chains that function as intended, both under normal conditions and in crises, such as the ongoing pandemic.

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Professor Marianne Jahre at BI is heading two studies to understand today’s medicine, vaccine and health commodity supply chains. In BI’s research projects on health supply chains, supported by the Research Council of Norway, BI's partners include the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, INSEAD Business School, Lancaster University, Rotterdam School of Management, Institute of Health at Jimma University, and St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, both in Ethiopia. The studies aim to conduct case studies and systems modelling to understand today’s medicine, vaccine and health commodity supply chains.

Pharmaceutical and health commodity supply chains are complex and global. Opaque and vulnerable networks connect large numbers of manufacturers, buyers and end users. The breakdown of these critical supply chains can lead to serious injury and even death. The research projects MIA (Measures for Improved Availability of medicines and vaccines) and the COVID-19 Supply Chain Research Group, will address these issues and take a system-wide approach to understanding medicine, vaccine and health commodity. By building a comprehensive model of the networks, the research team will be able to compare different methods of supply chain preparedness to see what works most effectively under different circumstances. The aim is to design supply chains that function as intended both under normal conditions and in crises, such as the ongoing pandemic.

The MIA Project

The purpose of this project is to assist key stakeholders with making evidence-based decisions that sustainably reduce shortages ensuring future health and care services. The research team will provide rigorous analyses of costs and benefits of measures, and establish a basis for comparative studies in other countries by developing baseline data, research design, analytical and pedagogical models and tools. The findings will inform ongoing strategy work and collaboration initiatives within Norway, the UK and Europe more broadly. In addition, the team will draw policy implications and put forth recommendations for supply chain design, procurement strategies and alignment of economic incentives. MIA Project researchers will also develop training resources and tool kits and embed these into higher education curricula in pharmaceutical education, risk management and operations/supply chain management, thus increasing skills, capacity and cooperation in educational programs across sectors, stakeholders, and disciplines including health, social science and economics.

  • The primary objective is to help key stakeholders make evidence-based decisions that sustainably reduce medicine and vaccine shortages, addressing a key societal challenge to ensure future health and care services.

The COVID Project

Once COVID-19 emerged, the research team realized that they could not ignore the ongoing pandemic while conducting the MIA Project, which focuses on drug shortage. Originally, the plan was to simulate an epidemic in order to study the effects of a drug shortage and to analyze different interventions to understand which would improve preparedness. The team was overtaken by reality and realized the need for collecting data on the COVID-19 response while it was ongoing. Therefore, the team applied and were awarded funding to focus on drug shortage related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is called COVID-19 Supply Chain Research Group. While the MIA Project has two focal countries - the UK and Norway, the COVID Project has expanded to include a non-European, non-high-income country - Ethiopia. Hence, the project group was expanded, and the reference group includes representatives for Ethiopia; Dr. Zeleke Mekonnen from the Institute of Health at Jimma University (JUIH), and Dr. Takiru Shimles from St. Paul's Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC), and Dr. Jeanette H. Magnus, Director of the Centre for Global Health at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (UiO). In addition, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is a formal partner in the COVID Project together with JUIH and SPHMMC. Currently, JUIH, SPHMMC and UiO cooperate together as partners for the Strategic And Collaborative Capacity Development in Ethiopia and Africa (SACCADE).

The primary objective of the COVID Project is to assist key stakeholders in making evidence-based decisions that improve availability of medicines and health commodities during times of crisis. This project aims to develop supply chain interventions so that countries can prepare for potential epidemics in a cost-effective manner but also react effectively during a crisis to maintain critical supply of life-saving medicines and commodities. The scope includes advanced supply chains in high-income European countries (HIC), and the more rudimentary systems in low-income countries (LIC).

Both projects will contribute to providing decision makers and others with better knowledge about how pharmaceutical and health commodity supply chains work. The initial focus is on Norway, the United Kingdom, Europe and Ethiopia. In a later phase, the knowledge will be shared with other countries facing similar challenges. The MIA project is set to run for 4 years and was granted NOK 12 million by the Helsevel-program, while the COVID Project will run for 2 years with funding from GLOBVAC, both RCN programs. More information about both projects can be found here.

By Gabriella Rodriguez
Published Sep. 16, 2020 9:41 AM - Last modified Dec. 4, 2020 3:52 PM