With the New Year upon us, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the most important milestones that you, our partners and donors, have helped us to achieve this past year. With your support, we are reaching more people, proving the potential of emerging innovation, and working with new partners to increase access to quality healthcare at the last mile.
Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF, or “Health Center by Phone”) expanded to three additional districts in Malawi, reaching an additional 400,000 people, and ensuring that mothers like Patuma have access to health information, advice and care, no matter where they live. Airtel remains central to this growth as we work with the Ministry of Health towards national scale-up. New ventures like CCPF for Adolescents and collaboration with Johnson & Johnson are helping to enhance the quality of the service and expand its
potential to reach and serve more.
The second class of pharmacy assistants graduated! Students and graduates now work in districts reaching 99% of the population in Malawi. With a pharmacy assistant, frontline health workers spend more time with patients, medicines are managed more effectively, and the quality of care is improving in more than 135 rural clinics and counting. This progress is the result of a strong commitment by donors, partners and the Malawi government to ensure that the program continues to thrive. This is no small feat, and something that VillageReach will celebrate for years to come.
More than 4.3 million doses of vaccines were delivered with VillageReach support to 550 clinics serving approximately 9 million people. Improving the immunization supply chain in Mozambique is a cornerstone of VillageReach history. The lessons learned from this work continue to influence and drive partnerships with new countries as we work together to implement next-generation immunization supply chains, a critical factor in reaching global vaccine goals.
- New technologies. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or “drones”) have incredible potential to address transport and logistics challenges at the last mile. In 2016, VillageReach was a partner on several pilot projects to test the effective and efficient application of UAVs for last mile logistics. VillageReach also founded and leads the global UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group, bringing leaders together to discuss trends, challenges and global connections to support appropriate development of this emerging technology.
- Better Tools. Getting vaccines to the right place at the right time and in the right condition depends on the ability of stakeholders to see what is happening at the last mile. In 2016, we celebrated the release of OpenLMIS 3.0 (BETA), (open source logistics management information system) an enhanced version of the supply chain software that supports more effective and efficient health supply chains in multiple countries including Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
- New Approaches. We’re excited to be working with the Tete provincial government in Mozambique and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) on a new initiative to improve last mile supply chains using a private company to deliver different health commodities together in one truck. Taking advantage of a local company and combining historically separate supply chains allows medicines to reach health centers more efficiently. Evidence from the project will prove a valuable resource to global stakeholders when evaluating successful models for supply chain improvement.
Growth: Expanding Our Reach
As our current programs scale with partners, it is important to continually evaluate and assess how and where our work can have the greatest impact. In 2016 we responded to the growing demand for our expertise in other countries, with new projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and adding several new regional staff. Our field teams bring essential local perspective, technical support and added value to all of our programs. This growth allows us to be effective implementing partners — leading from the last mile — in order to reach and serve more people.
The momentum of the last 12 months is inspiring. l look forward to the year ahead, and to engaging with our supporters in new and meaningful ways. Philanthropy is critical to our model and impact. With your support, we are able to sustain programs while creating partnerships for scaling far beyond VillageReach. With your support, we are able to play a leadership role in developing new and emerging innovations and expand our reach to more communities in new ways.
To all of our committed donors who make this progress possible – thank you for your continued partnership and support.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!