Answers to Vendor Questions / Requests for Clarifications for ASCENT Procurement Calls

This page is intended to provide answers to the questions/requests for clarifications submitted by potential respondents to any of the three (3) procurement calls published January 2020 by the ASCENT Project. This document answers the first round of questions received and will be updated with subsequent questions/answers on a rolling basis.

To submit additional questions, please send an email to ascent@kncvtbc.org. For specific closing dates for submission of RFQ/RFPs, please refer to the links for each of the procurement calls in their sections below. All recent postings of ASCENT procurement calls can be found here: https://www.kncvtbc.org/en/news/

Last updated: 4th of February 2020

 

A. RFQ 1: Printing of cardstock medication sleeves

Announcement: https://www.kncvtbc.org/en/2020/01/13/ascent-project-update-requests-for-quotation/

RFQ text: https://www.kncvtbc.org/uploaded/2020/01/ASCENT-MARKET-Technical-Document-Medication-Sleeve-3.pdf

 

1. Can you share a picture of an example sleeve so that we can see the makeup of the sleeves?

Sample pictures of the sleeves can be found on the 99DOTS website:

https://www.99dots.org/Images/99DOTS_FDC_wrapping.JPG

https://www.99dots.org/Images/99DOTS_FDC_dispensing.JPG

https://www.99dots.org/Images/99DOTS_FDC_phonecall.JPG

 

2. Can you share the die cut dimensions so that we can quote the best prices?

Please use the ZIP file with 1 design for both sequence / die cut in order to maximize comparability between countries at this time. Final dimension will be shared in final order. Also address questions related to die creation on page 5 of the RFQ.

 

3. From our past experience, the different dimensions have different rates, so we are not in a position to offer any rate until we get the correct sample of the sachet that is required. How can we proceed?

We acknowledge that the final rates for different medication sleeves can only be provided after our sharing of the final technical documents including die cut and measurements. However, by using this RFQ we would like to understand the estimated costs and timeline of production for the quantities mentioned in the table on the last page of the RFQ (10.000, 25.000, 50.000, 100.000 and 150.000) and the size as provided in the ZIP file. This to facilitate comparison between candidates globally, where the sleeves will have slight variations per country.

 

4. Does the design of the packaging been protected and/or does it have a patent? If so, will we have permission to print?

The packaging design (both physical and graphic) has no patent and has been purposefully been released for public use by the inventors. You have permission to print.

 

5. Will the outer design of the sleeve be generic artwork or will it be country specific? Will all 70.000 patients across the 5 countries use the same design?

The physical sleeve design and die cuts (sleeve format) will likely be country specific. In the RFQ document we added a ZIP file with one example design for both sequence / die cut in order to maximize comparability between countries. The artwork will be country specific, but will not likely vary in terms of the quantity and type of colors used in the design. Our final order will include the country-specific designs, but these designs will be very similar to the example given. At this time, please use the quantities per batch as provided in the table on page 6 of the RFQ.

 

6. Are we able to get a blister pack for the final sample?

Yes, this can definitely be part of the final order process.

 

7. Will we be required to insert the blister packs into the sleeves or will this be done by yourselves?

Inserting the blister packs into the sleeves is purposefully not part of the RFQ, as this will most likely be performed ourselves. However, any relevant suggestions to streamline this activity can be added to your response.

 

8. Will the blister pack be inserted vertically or horizontally?

Up to now, the blister packs have been inserted horizontally (through the smaller end. However, this is not a requirement and we are also open to changing the design so that they are instead inserted vertically, if that improves production processes/quality/ease of packaging.

 

9. What will be the total number of sleeves and sequences that you will require per order? i.e. Will 10.000 quantity be 200 sleeves of each sequence?

This is correct. We would like to understand the price per batch. So for 10.000 that would mean 10.000/50 = 200 sleeves per sequence. Please refer to the quantities per batch as provided in the table on page 6 of the RFQ.

 

10. What do you mean by 10.000 to 150.000 sleeves per batch? How many sleeves per batch is needed?

We would like to understand the costs and timeline of production for the quantities mentioned in the table on the last page of the RFQ. There are 5 types: batches of 10.000, 25.000, 50.000, 100.000 and 150.000. Please include cost and timeline quotes for these 5 types.

 

11. Will the sequential numbering remain the same or change during the contractual period?

The 50 distinct sequences will not change during the contractual period.

 

12. Are there any specifications as to how the sleeves need to be packaged? i.e. quantity in a box, in numerical sequence?

Sleeves should be packaged per sleeve design (in case multiple designs are used per country) and the sequences can be mixed (preferred). We do not have current requirements with regard to quantities per box.

 

13. Is the cost of freight part of the RFQ?

Yes, please include an estimate of shipping costs from manufacturer to the capital city of the receiving country in the Shipping Costs column(s) with incoterms Delivery at Place Unloaded per batch.

 

14. Kindly advise what quantity we should quote you on as the project already started in 2019.

Please refer to the quote amounts from question 10 above. Indeed, the project started in 2019 but provision of sleeves to patients will not begin until Q2 2020. The sleeve procurement contractual period will begin no earlier than March 2020.

 

B. RFQ 2: Incoming and outgoing interactions with an adherence platform

Announcement: https://www.kncvtbc.org/en/2020/01/13/ascent-project-update-requests-for-quotation/

RFQ text: https://www.kncvtbc.org/uploaded/2020/01/ASCENT-MARKET-Technical-Document-Adherence-Technology-Interaction-4.pdf

 

1. Can a Service Provider quote for a selection of countries, or a global quotation from one supplier is a requirement?

This request is open to both types of providers, either for one country or selection of countries (global).

 

2. The adherence platform referred to in the specifications, is it an existing platform?

Yes, this is an existing platform (the Everwell Hub) that will be hosted in-country. You will not be responsible to host this platform.

 

3. If so, is the requirement to integrate the communications or interactions on the existing platform? Can you share details about the open source adherence management system in order for us to consider integration costs?

Yes, the requirement is to integrate interactions on the existing platform. You can assume that the proposed integration will happen via HTTP POST request(s) to API endpoints and that this documentation will be provided to you before contracting.

 

4. What is integration support available on the adherence platform? i.e., API, or SIP for voice, etc.?

Yes, you can assume that the proposed integration will happen via HTTP POST request(s) to API endpoints and that this documentation will be provided to you. This means that independently from the interaction method provided (message, voice or USSD) we expect that you are able to send [patient phone number], [timestamp] and [message content] for every incoming interaction to the adherence platform as a HTTP POST request to our API endpoint.

 

5. On the interactions with the patients, is the requirement for an ongoing exchange? i.e., chat back and forth.

Yes, this is preferred. For example, if the patient does his or her daily interaction via a toll free SMS shortcode , we also expect that from this shortcode messages from the platform to the patient can be send to allow for interaction.

 

6. In our proposal, do we need to respond with / present options for ALL channels i.e. messaging, phone call, and USSD? Or can we choose to provide options for two channels e.g. messaging and USSD only?

We would like to understand the extent to which candidates can facilitate suggested incoming/outgoing interactions with our adherence platform. It is indeed not required to provide/present options for all channels but the candidate can choose to provide options.

 

7. Is there a requirement for alternative platforms like Viber and WhatsApp, what is the extent of this requirement?

This is not a requirement. (See also above answer.) We would like to understand the extent to which candidate can facilitate our suggested incoming and outgoing interactions. It is indeed not required to provide/present options for all channels but the candidate can choose to provide options.

 

8. For “Incoming interaction via messaging”, if WhatsApp is proposed as another messaging channel, it is not possible to reverse bill via WhatsApp. Can this still be proposed as an option?

Good point. We would like to understand the costs and technical implications in case the WhatsApp channel will be used for incoming and outgoing interactions. This can thus still be proposed as option, but please highlight this limitation.

 

9. There is a requirement for toll-free landline numbers, but this is not a service that we offer. In our country these can be obtained by a separate provider. It is required that the we obtain these services on your behalf?

We would like to understand the extent to which candidates can facilitate suggested incoming/outgoing interactions with our adherence platform. In case toll-free landlines cannot be provided by your organization directly, please state this. We would expect that the candidate that will be contracted by our project Is able to and responsible for managing the toll-free line set-up and interaction. Even if this cannot be provided directly by the candidate themselves, (e.g. subcontracted) inability to provide toll-free landlines is not a disqualifying factor for consideration of vendor selection.

 

10. Is the requirement for a specific prefix for USSD?

No, this is not a requirement. However, we expect that the interaction via USSD requires as few steps as possible for the patient.

 

11. Is there an existing USSD tree developed with the required scenarios, or is the requirement for the Service Provider to do development and this aspect to be included in the quotation?

This has not yet been developed. Potential (simplified) examples could be:

PATIENT PHONE INPUT *1502*05*[CODE ON PACKAGE]#

START USSD SESSION

RESPONSE “Thank you for registering your dose today”

END USSD SESSION

or

PATIENT PHONE INPUT *1502*05*08#

START USSD SESSION

USSD RESPONSE “”Welcome to ASCENT. Type your code and press submit

PATIENT PHONE INPUT “”[CODE ON PACKAGE]””

USSD RESPONSE  “Thank you for registering your dose today”

END USSD SESSION”

 

12. Does KNCV have a relationship with the Ministries of Health in any of the proposed countries?

Yes, in all countries we have ongoing relationships with the Ministries of Health and National Tuberculosis Programs (including their information technology teams) and work directly with health facility staff and central staff to support an integrative implementation of this project.

 

13. Is there a plan for scaling that we should be cognizant of?

Yes. While the first contractual period is 1 year, there is a possibility to extend the contract. The ASCENT project aims to build the foundation for continued scale up of the use of digital adherence technologies. Final expected number of patients per country per year beyond the ones provided in the RFP will be shared with the selected candidates.

 

14. Do you require of the respondent to be B-BBEE compliant? (specific question for South Africa)

No, this is not a requirement.

 

C. RFP: Provision of hosting services for the ASCENT Digital Adherence Platform

Announcement: https://www.kncvtbc.org/en/2020/01/22/ascent-announcement-request-for-proposal/

RFP text: https://www.kncvtbc.org/uploaded/2020/01/RFP-for-provision-of-hosting-services-for-ASCENT-platform.docx

 

1. The RFP doesn’t contain any requirement on providing digital security certificates. Is this a requirement for final selection?

Section C in the Requirements Document (pages 9 and 10) requests information on data protection practices and documentation. It is requested that vendors provide documented practices and/or certificates as available. Digital security certificates will need to be provided prior to contracting.

 

2. In countries where certification is required in order to work with personal and/or patient health related data, will this be a requirement for selection?

As stated above, Section C in the Requirements Document (pages 9 and 10) requests information on data protection practices and documentation, including data privacy. Proof of certification to work with relevant personal and health data is a country-specific requirement and will be addressed with any suitable vendor prior to contracting. In countries where this is a requirement, proof of certification will need to be provided before contracting.

 

3. If PaaS are not available in a country, how should the vendor respond to the RFP?

We recognize that availability of PaaS services is country-dependent. For countries where this is not an option, we will discuss with suitable vendors what the appropriate alternatives may be.

 

4. The RFP doesn’t contain any requirement on proof of no past or current problems with local law/legislation (e.g. that the Cloud Date Room is not under arrest or other burdens from state authorities). Does KNCV require confirmation from official sources that no such issues exist?

In their response, vendors should disclose if such issues exist. KNCV will determine during selection process if this proof from authorities is required for contracting. It is not required for response to the RFP.

 

5. (Ukraine specific) According to the Ukrainian legislation the data should be protected by the certificate of complex system of protection of the information (KSZI). Will it be obligatory for Ukrainian providers to provide a copy of KSZI certificate for Cloud Date Center?
Yes, for Ukrainian providers this will be a requirement for contracting.

 

6. (Ukraine specific) Is it required to provide acknowledgement from the State register of the rights to real estate and the Register of the rights of ownership to real estate, the State register of mortgages, the Uniform register of interdictions of alienation of objects of real estate on object of real estate?

KNCV will determine during selection process if this proof from authorities is required for contracting. It is not required for response to the RFP.