LABORATORIES PREPAREDNESS IN RESPONSE TO COVID 19 PANDEMIC IN QATAR STRATEGIC PLANNING AND EMERGENCY SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
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Introduction: the purpose of this study is to investigate the preparedness of laboratories in Qatar on provisions of essential supplies in pandemic through assesses Supply Chain Management capabilities and its resilience in emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic imposes challenges to many countries’ medical laboratories around the world. These challenges were caused by partial to complete lockdown of most countries and lead to worldwide supply chain (SCs) interruption. Supply chains SCs control pandemic outbreak by providing streamline flow of medical resources to prevent shortage of essential clinical laboratories supplies required to reduce the mortality rate and mitigate the pandemic effect. Since laboratories depend on continuity and sustainability of essential supplies provide by SCM, this highlights the importance of investments on preparedness of emergency SCs through creating a strategy of future uncertainty for any disruption event. Methods: The study relied on primary data collection and the utilization of SWOT tool for SCM analysis. A qualitative data was collected through interviews, the capability of SCM to sustain during pandemic and provide essential laboratories supplies was analyzed by SWOT tool to investigating the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. On the other hand, the collected data was used to fulfil the checklist requirements; the checklist that used was the modified WHO checklist for H1N1 influenza virus in 2009. The analysis of data relied on the WHO scoring system. The checklist included laboratories' supply chain management preparedness protocols on six key components: Governance, financial, IT system, and personnel; Commodities planning; Procurements and sourcing; Stockpiling and warehouse management; Transportation and customs; and finally, Waste management. Each component is considered as a domain and subdivided into several activities. Results: Laboratories preparedness plan activities in governance, personnel and finance component have 64% of intermediate progress, however, 26% of preparedness planning for pandemic was in progression. The total percentage of activities on the commodities’ planning component was received 70% of intermediate progression, however 20% of preparedness plans was in progression. Activities on the procurement and sourcing of component was received 67% of intermediate progression of preparedness plan, and 33% the preparedness plan was completed. Warehouse and storage management received 58% of preparedness for emergency, whereas 21% of the preparedness plan was in progression. The transportation and customs component show 64% of preparedness plan for emergency, on the other hand, 7% in progression, and 29% the preparedness plan was completed. Most of activities on the waste management component received 47% of preparedness plan, whereas 13% of this component was in progress planning, and 40% the preparedness plan was completed. Conclusion: Laboratories preparedness for emergency considers crucial footsteps for future countries threats, this achieved through coordination between country health sectors on the laboratories field through allocating national laboratories for public health and establishes SCM center that have unified processes and procedures across country health sectors. In addition, opens communication channels between health sectors to collaborate in preparedness planning in all emergency supply chain management components that emphasis on; securing and provisions of all essential resources needs for contagious disease, looking for planning the critical supplies forecasting and quantification, focusing in applying diversification in sources and suppliers and encourage of domestic suppliers. Also, SCM personnel in laboratories should put into consideration through prepare them for emergency by applying simulation program. Furthermore, corporation with health sectors in planning for sufficient warehouse with higher capacities for emergency and planning for transportation routing across countries, in addition, coordinate with laboratories to prepare a plan for waste management protocols. Finally adopting promising solutions in SCM that increase transparency along supply chain management between health sectors in emergency.