In February 2020, before any cases were recorded in Sierra Leone, the Public Health Emergency Operations Center, Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supplies, CDC, China Center for Disease Control and National Medical Supplies Agency convened a technical review meeting to customize the ESC playbook commodities list with WHO’s recommended commodities package for COVID-19. The commodities included commodities like personal protective equipment, medical equipment, oxygen supplies and essential medicines. The MoHS used the revised playbook to mobilize further action.
In the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic, information and guidance about treatment, prevention and control was constantly evolving. The ESC Playbook has built-in flexibility to facilitate changes, including the commodity lists for COVID-19. GHSC-PSM worked with the ESC Playbook team to keep current the commodity list.
At a national simulation in March 2020, more than 30 logistics officers and pharmacists learned to use the ESC playbook, with special attention paid to commodities needed to prepare for COVID-19. The simulation exercise included a mapping of regional supply chain infrastructure that was added to the playbook for future reference.
The ESC playbook served as a roadmap for forecasting needed commodities and prepositioning them at designated COVID-19 treatment centers. One year after the first recorded case of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, the ESC playbook continues to serve as an essential tool for supply chain management.
With the playbook having proved its value, in December 2020 the USAID GHSA Advisor, Dr. Monica Dea, officially handed over the ESC playbook to Chief Medical Officer, Reverend Dr. Thomas T. Samba, who represented the government of Sierra Leone.
Emergency supply chain preparedness saves lives by getting essential medicines to the front lines rapidly, reducing the amount of response funds required by investing in preparedness, and speeding response time in the event of a public health emergency. As of March 15, 2021, Sierra Leone recorded 3,938 cases of COVID-19 and 79 deaths. 132,255 tests have been carried out since the start of the outbreak. Sierra Leone faces the prospect of a protracted COVID-19 epidemic and the threat of an Ebola outbreak from neighboring Guinea. The ESC Playbook will continue to adapt to changing guidelines for COVID-19 and be updated to reflect needs in the event of a second Ebola outbreak.