Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Tag Archives: Human Resources for Health

06.01 2018
Laiford at work in Mbang’ombe 1 Health Center drugstore

Mbang’ombe 1 Health Center is in the back yard of Lilongwe International Airport. In terms of access to quality health services however, the facility might as well be far from Lilongwe. At approximately 50 km from the Lilongwe District Health Office and Central Medical Stores, the facility serves a rural community. It has one clinician, four nurses, 11 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) and several support staff who serve over 5,000 households, a total population of 24,762 people. The facility has never had pharmacy personnel.

Laiford Nandolo is one of the two HSAs that help manage the drugstore in the absence of a trained Pharmacy Assistant. Although Laiford has over 10 years of experience as a health worker, most of his drugstore clerk experience has been on the job without formal training, except a one-day training he received back in 2014.

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04.25 2018

I had the privilege of meeting Ruphin Ndumbala on my recent visit to Equateur province, DRC. Ruphin is one of the many frontline health workers who go above and beyond to ensure vaccines reach every last child. Recently, he made a promise, and I was honored enough to see him deliver.

“I used to spend at least two days’ roundtrip to collect vaccines.” Ruphin spoke outside of his clinic in rural Equateur province. “It was a big concern for my family that I was leaving behind, but also for the patients I was leaving unattended.”

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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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Malawi healthcare worker