VillageReach is always seeking out new ways to improve access to quality healthcare at the last mile, and new partners that allow us to do this. Over the weekend, VillageReach president Evan Simpson presented at the Med25 Benefit dinner. Med25 is an exciting global health organization that provides quality, culturally appropriate and affordable health care by encouraging the creation of local, income-generating businesses that support healthcare initiatives. Together, VillageReach and Med25 are partnering to explore how the Med25 model can be brought to new communities. At this recent event, Evan Simpson shared his insights on the potential impact of this partnership:
“I wanted to share a story that has had a personal impact on me, and underscores the importance of Med25 and VillageReach. I have previously spent a lot of time working in western Kenya, just up the road from where Med25 has a project. I spent a lot of time working with community health volunteers, primarily on diarrheal disease, which is a major killer of children in these communities. Over time, I got to know these community health volunteers, and as we were concluding a month-long project, one of them – a woman named Alice – shared with me her story: A couple of years before her young child, a toddler, had developed quite severe diarrhea. She was living in a very remote village, but she knew that she needed to get oral rehydration solution (ORS)– a very simple packet of salt and sugar. She went to the community health volunteer in the next community over to ask for this ORS. She was told “No. No, I haven’t had any of that for a long time. I used to get it from the clinic, but they haven’t had any either. You should get your child to the clinic anyway, because he looks very sick.” So she made her way to the clinic in a larger community, a two-hour walk away. She arrived midday to a long line, but was finally able to see the nurse at the end of the day. Again she was told “No, we do not have any ORS. But you should go to the private pharmacy. They will have it.” She walked across town only to find the pharmacy closed. She went home, exhausted after her long day. That night, her son died.
This is a long way of saying that the system failed her. The system failed her son. The system of access and the availability of key medicines is still a long way from reaching these communities.
I am excited about partnering with Med25 to bring their program to a couple of key countries where together we can really make an impact.
One of our primary focus areas at VillageReach is last mile supply chains. It’s not enough to get vaccines into a country. We need a reliable supply chain that is there every day, all the time so that mothers like Alice can access these medicines and take care of their children.
What’s great about this partnership with Med25 is that it’s not just about need – it’s about opportunity. It’s about bringing private sector thinking to these issues. It’s about thinking outside the box, about creating sustainable markets for healthcare. Partnering with Med25, VillageReach is looking forward to an exciting and long-term relationship.”