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4 min read
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
at 10:46 AM AST
Posted by
By Lisa MacSween

Behind the scenes: Supply chain operations team navigates Nova Scotia's COVID-19 response and named patient safety champion nominee

Photo of Aswin Prabhu (Store Clerk A); Xavier Cusack (Store Clerk A); Jacob Anderson (Store Clerk A); Tim Matthews (Team Lead); Chris Slauenwhite (Store Clerk A); Farah Alkhatib (Store Clerk A); Eileen Rivas de Caccavale (Provincial Stockpile Manager); Luis Rubio (Industrial Engineer); Gustavo Ferrer (Provincial Stockpile Coordinator); Brent Kelloway (Store Clerk A). Missing from the photo: Sarthak Sharma (Store Clerk A)

Whether you stopped by your local library to grab a rapid COVID-19 test or got your COVID-19 vaccine at your local pharmacy, there was a small but mighty team that ensured the rapid tests and vaccine supplies were available for you.

Eileen Rivas de Caccavale, provincial stockpile manager, Supply Chain Operations team at Nova Scotia Health and her team of less than 20 worked around the clock to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 rapid test and COVID-19 vaccine supplies were available and distributed to 4,000 organizations across Nova Scotia.

“We were a brand-new team brought together during the beginning of COVID-19,” said Rivas de Caccavale. “While everyone was in lockdown, we were working at the facility and setting up a new warehouse specifically for COVID-19 supplies.”

To date, Nova Scotia Health has distributed more than 21 million rapid COVID-19 tests though the Community Rapid Testing Program. Each of these tests have moved through the Nova Scotia Health Supply Chain Operations team.

The Supply Chain Operations team in Central Nova Scotia was nominated this year to be recognized as a Nova Scotia Health patient safety champion.

Patient safety champions are nominated by their peers and demonstrate a genuine interest in safety and model Nova Scotia Health core values of patient safety.

Their nomination spoke to the continued impacts this team has on communities across the province. 

“The Supply Chain team continues to be on the frontline of managing this inventory, including rapid and unexpected shifts in supply and demand, complexities of expiry dates and ultimately, supporting patients and communities to reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization,” their nomination read.

Amid moving facilities because they outgrew warehouse space and frequent changes to public health directions, Rivas de Caccavale said strong communications and collaboration have been key to their team’s success.

“Our team is collaborative and always come together to accomplish a task,” she said. “For example, if a late request came in to get supplies to a school, everyone was onboard to stay late to complete the order on time.”

An industrial engineer by trade, Rivas de Caccavale said that planning is a huge part of supply chain operations. It is also one of her favourite parts.

“I love planning and see how things behind the scenes contribute to big things happening with the province,” she explained. “I really enjoy being able to help the community and provide the right PPE and supplies at the right time to the people who need it.”

During the height of COVID-19 Rivas De Caccavale recalls her team drawing hearts on the boxes of PPE going to staff at the long-term care centres, where the impact of COVID-19 hit hard. 

“It was a sad time, but we hoped to show a little support to our community,” she said.

The Supply Chain Operations team in Central Nova Scotia was one of 65 patient safety champion nominees from across the province. View the full list of 2023 patient safety nominees (PDF).

Supply Chain is one of eight departments within the Corporate Services portfolio at Nova Scotia Health. Corporate Services is committed to improving outcomes, experiences, and efficiencies.

Photo (L-R) of Aswin Prabhu, Store Clerk A; Xavier Cusack, Store Clerk A; Jacob Anderson, Store Clerk A; Tim Matthews, Team Lead; Chris Slauenwhite, Store Clerk A; Farah Alkhatib, Store Clerk A; Eileen Rivas de Caccavale, Provincial Stockpile Manager; Luis Rubio, Industrial Engineer; Gustavo Ferrer, Provincial Stockpile Coordinator; Brent Kelloway, Store Clerk A. Missing from the photo: Sarthak Sharma, Store Clerk A.

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