In clarifying the objectives for the RUTF Supply Chain Analysis, UNICEF defined the scope of the project along several key dimensions:
– Product focus: The supply chain analysis would focus on a specific RUTF product, Plumpy’Nut and similar peanut-based, energy-dense pastes used for treating severe acute malnutrition in children.
– Supply chain: The analysis would examine issues from the point of production (e.g., Nutriset’s production of Plumpy’Nut in Malaunay, France) to the product’s delivery in country, and it would concentrate on UNICEF’s role within this supply chain.
– Geographical region: The supply of this product to the Horn of Africa, particularly to Somalia and Kenya, would be the focus of the study.
Through this lens, the supply chain analysis concentrated on a region accounting for just over half of UNICEF’s RUTF purchases globally.
The core research team consisted of an interdisciplinary team led by the Program on Global Health and Technology Access at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Each brought complementary expertise, from public health policy to supply chain analysis. The core research team also assembled an Advisory Group comprised of experts on nutrition and infant feeding (UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health) and value chain analysis (Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness at Duke University).
Regular communications took place between the core research team and UNICEF’s Supply Division throughout the project period. The UNICEF Regional Office also played an important role in recruiting key information for the supply chain analysis. The Supply Division identified a subset of the stakeholders to provide deeper engagement and feedback, but field visits and telephone calls allowed for interviews with the broader stakeholder group. Strong champions of the supply chain analysis were critically important in helping to recruit data, line up meetings, and provide feedback on analyses and recommendations.
An initial survey of this stakeholder group revealed where perceptions over supply chain challenges were shared and where they diverged. Such a survey provides useful insights to where key stakeholders perceive problems in the supply chain, and this can help prepare the groundwork for subsequent interviews.