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Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Tag Archives: Human Resources for Health

08.17 2016

One hundred and thirty minutes. That’s just over two hours. It’s a long time to wait to see a doctor no matter where you are in the world. Then after waiting for two hours, patients talk to a healthcare provider for less than 2 minutes – 140 seconds – before they are back out the door. These are the average times spent waiting for and with healthcare providers in a rural health center in Malawi, where a recent study examined the flow of patients to help uncover opportunities for improvement.

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07.22 2016
Jessica Crawford spoke about health delivery in last mile contexts.
Jessica Crawford spoke about health delivery in last mile contexts.

Global health innovation requires us to think beyond an individual product – it’s about creating space for “last mile thinkers” to meet with the scientists and engineers whose work influences medicine availability and healthcare access in low- and- middle income countries. This is how VillageReach found itself on a stage next to representatives from GlaxoSmithKlein, Pfizer, Washington Global Health Alliance, and the Controlled Release Society, engaging in conversations about what medicine delivery means in the context of global health.

Tremendous time, resources, and efforts are invested in developing new, more effective medicines that can improve quality of life – some of these medical breakthroughs have promise to control or eliminate diseases that costs thousands of lives each year. But the challenge of delivering these innovations in low-resource settings remains a pervasive barrier to improving health care access and outcomes. New products have unintentionally strained fragile health systems. Health supply chains for example, designed decades ago, struggle today to deliver a wider range of medicines to larger populations. Infrastructure and human resource challenges limit the impact of these innovations. Life-saving medicines sit on shelves in a warehouse, or expire in broken refrigerators at a rural health facility – many of us who live and work at the last mile of rural communities are familiar with this “innovation pile-up.”

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06.23 2016

Untitled designGraduation season is upon us. It’s a time of reflection for those about to embark on a new phase of their lives. For many this means entering the workforce for the first time, a pivotal life moment.  At VillageReach, we recently celebrated the graduation of the second cohort of pharmacy assistants. Once deployed, these 85 graduates will begin careers as employees of the Malawi Ministry of Health and will be placed in rural, public-sector health facilities across Malawi. The 85 graduates will join their previous cohort who are already working in the field and making significant improvements in the quality of medicines management and patient care at the last mile. But this recent event is not the only graduation we’re celebrating.

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06.22 2016

In 2014, Africa.com published a list of the 10 jobs that will be the most sought in Africa in the near future. It comes as no surprise that logistics and supply chain management related jobs made it to the list, identifying supply chain managers as a driving force of economic growth in Africa.

Me & Dr Mukengeshayi, SG of DRC
Speaking with Dr. Mukengeshayi Kupa, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, DRC

After attending the recent Immunization Supply Chain Leadership Conference in Abidjan, I felt that this was also true for the public health sector. The eleven African countries represented were all speaking with one voice: they need the right person at the right place to lead the next generation of immunization supply chains (iSC).

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05.02 2016

Donor support and new partners like  Johnson & Johnson will help expand and enhance CCPF in the coming year.

A family using CCPF

We are pleased to announce that Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions has become one of the key partners in championing Chipitala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) as it advances towards national scale.  Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions is a known supporter of community-based health care solutions that strengthen the health workforce, save and improve the lives of women and children and prevent disease among the most vulnerable.

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01.28 2016

A lot of attention is currently being paid to immunization supply chains (iSC) and how to improve their performance in order to absorb new vaccine introductions and leverage new technologies, all while being efficient and effective. It’s no small task. And generally, the conversation centers around the concrete components of the supply chain, such as cold chain equipment, shifting tasks to reduce the burden on health workers, or optimizing transport loops.

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01.21 2016

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Most of us make them. And inevitably, most of us break them. Last year I gave up added sugar. And on New Year’s Eve, as I nibbled on salted almond chocolate, I had to admit that I had given up on that resolution back in February. Yet nonetheless, while chewing on that same candy bar, I made a new resolution – spend more time having fun outdoor adventures. Luckily, this year I am armed with some research that shows that those of us who proclaim our resolutions publicly (check!) and set specific goals (do at least one outside activity- such as hiking, skiing or a long bike ride- per month) will be more likely to succeed.

Following these same principles, VillageReach is proud to publicly announce its New Year’s resolution: eliminate stockouts.

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12.22 2015

In response to this article by Dr. Mahad Ibrahim on the role of data during the Ebola outbreak, some interesting questions were sparked among our team. The piece evoked a lot of great insights about the opportunities and challenges the piece addresses, as well as how we see those topics evidenced in our VillageReach work. This topic is of particular interest to us, as we and our partners at the University of Washington are actively developing and testing an open-source tool for paper to digital data conversion, ODK Scan.

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12.01 2015
Today the world recognizes World Aids Day – a day to unite in the fight against HIV and to support the millions of people around the globe living with HIV.

In conjunction with World Aids Day, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has published a new report – Empty Shelves, Come Back Tomorrow – evaluating the current incidence of HIV for four of the worst HIV-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Mozambique.  In the country, 11% of the adult population is HIV positive, but only 45% of those affected receive the required level of treatment.   As the report notes about Mozambique “… there is no funded regular last mile delivery and stockouts are seen at facility level.”

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10.12 2015

The UN Commission for Life-Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC)Atelier d’échange: Pratiques et ressources pour améliorer l’accès aux treize produits vitaux pour la santé des femmes et des enfants(in English, “Workshop to Promote Exchange on Practices and Resources to Increase Access to the 13 Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health”) on took place last month in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was made possible through a collaboration between the UNCoLSC and Securité Contraceptive en Afrique Francophone (SECONAF, the regional forum for Francophone Africa of the Reproductive Health Supply Chain Coalition), and followed the SECONAF Annual Meeting.

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