Routine distributions of medicines to communities at the last mile in Mozambique have always been challenging due to long distances and poor road conditions. To make matters worse, January often brings heavy rains that flood rivers and wash away roads. On certain occasions, health workers from rural clinics may have to travel over roads with deep craters or mud to reach the district warehouse to avoid stock-outs at their health center.
The Last Mile Supply Chain (LMSC) program is improving monthly distributions in a partnership with Bolloré Transport and Logistics which now delivers medicines directly to health centers in Zambézia province. “Different types of transport are being used to deliver medicines. Whether by pick-up truck, bicycle, motorbike or boat, at some stage none of these transports are useful. However, the cargo must be carried by someone.” said Shabana Gafar, Bolloré Implementation Manager for the LMSC program. In March, medicines were delivered to 11 district warehouses and 148 health facilities, including the districts of Molumbo and Morrumbala. The new distribution team is dedicated to delivering life-saving medicines to those who need it most no matter what challenge the poor roads or rain present them.
Through the mud
On a Friday in early March, a Bollore truck transporting medicines from the provincial warehouse in Quelimane to the district warehouse in Molumbo found itself trapped in mud on a main road. As the situation continued to worsen, locals from nearby came to free the truck by pushing it, with no luck. They then attempted to hire a local tractor, which was also unsuccessful requiring the delivery drivers to spend the night safeguarding the payload of medicines. This led to another day of attempts – including hiring two additional tractors. Through their unwavering determination, the medicines were eventually transferred to a truck hired from Molumbo, which successfully delivered the medicines to the community that needed them.
Through the river
Later in March, while delivering medicines to the Morrumbula district, the team stopped at a bridge that washed away. Just like the mud, it took the whole village to deliver medicine, as a few locals helped carry the boxes one-by-one across the river and then by bicycle to the Mureremba health facility just 3.5 km away.
Delivering medicines in a safe and timely manner to health facilities supports the delivery of quality healthcare for all Mozambicans. LMSC ensures that, against all odds, medicines are always available at the last mile.