The unique public health challenges presented by COVID-19 have emphasized the importance of events like the Conference on Health & Humanitarian Logistics (HHL). These and other health and humanitarian logistics challenges disproportionally impact low income or vulnerable populations, complicating ongoing development needs in health, nutrition, education, and other key areas. Whether we face an emergency or long-term development decisions, there are often many actors who play a role and limited resources available, as well as variability, uncertainty, and potential disruptions in affected demand and supply chains.
HHL provides an open forum to discuss new solutions in health systems, disaster preparedness and response, and long-term development. The conference offers a unique platform for participants to discuss challenges, share best practices, and explore potential collaborations, with the goal of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in health and humanitarian systems to ultimately improve and save lives around the world.
While each passing year brings opportunities to improve public health and humanitarian logistics operations, the occurrence of the 12th annual HHL Conference during a global pandemic provided an especially timely opportunity for attendees and speakers to share planning perspectives and impactful research. The agenda featured three Keynote Addresses with representatives from key global health, humanitarian, and logistics organizations.
For the first time, HHL 2020 was held virtually. The event was an exercise in adaptability which demonstrated the determination of members of the health and humanitarian logistics fields to share knowledge, research advances, and practical perspectives for the improvement of our global community.
This year’s conference was made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from The UPS Foundation and Chemonics.
The agenda featured three Plenary Panels focused on:
1) Strengthening Health Systems and Health Supply Chains, 2) Disasters and Development – Market Systems Analysis, and 3) Protecting Supply Chain Essential Workers. The multifaceted program also included poster presentations, six interactive workshops, and over 30 oral presentations led by practitioners and thought leaders on current challenges and practices in health and humanitarian systems.
Since its inception 12 years ago, the conference has hosted participants from 80 countries around the world in locations such as the United States, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Denmark and United Arab Emirates. The 2020 conference drew over 200 attendees from 33 countries and over 140 organizations, including world leaders in the health and humanitarian sectors, current and former ministers of health, representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations, industry, foundations, and academia.
Active on Twitter (#HHL2020 and #HHLConf) during and after the event, participants shared thoughts and reflections, and praised the conference and its organizers: “This was…the first time I attended this conference. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to experiencing it on-site next year!”
The Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) at Georgia Tech carried the torch in kick-starting and organizing the conference during its first three years; partner organizations, including INSEAD, MIT Humanitarian Response Lab, Northeastern University, and NC State, joined as co-organizers over the past nine years. This year, Humanitarian Logistics Association joined as an organizing partner. With overwhelming support from our participants, we look forward to continually serving as a platform that springboards collaboration and change for the communities they serve. We look forward to seeing you at HHL 2021!
Session recordings are available now on the conference website.