Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
06.22 2020

Few people doubt that innovations from outside the public sector can help governments address myriad social problems. What is much less clear is the pathway for ensuring that promising innovations are sustained at scale. As Africa Regional Advisor for Health Innovation at WHO, Dr. Moredreck Chibi is helping light the innovation path for the 47 member states in the Africa region.

Dr. Chibi shared his views during a dialogue led by Catalyst 2030, a global movement of social change innovators working to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Catalyst 2030 will present propositions to the UN Taskforce and governments for a potential UN Resolution next month.

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06.17 2020

I am proud to share VillageReach’s 2019 Annual Report. This report highlights the milestones of the last year as well as the changemakers who helped transform health care delivery.

Universal Health Coverage requires strong and effective primary health care systems. Constant collaboration with ministries of health, our private sector and nonprofit partners, and continued support from our generous donors, will help get us there. Only together – and with inspiring changemakers like Patience, Emanuel and Chaido – can we accelerate the pace of change.

Read the 2019 Annual Report

I look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2020 – and another year of increasing access to health care for the most under-reached.

Warm Regards,

Emily Bancroft

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06.10 2020

For to be free is not merely to cast off ones’ chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  – Nelson Mandela 

We are in the midst of a historical reckoning. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery –as well as so many others whose names we will never know – have created a groundswell of action around the world.  We must raise our voices to protest and condemn institutionalized racism and law enforcement violence.  We must act to dismantle racism.  

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05.15 2020

Originally posted on

Listening, learning and adjusting — this has been our method of operation since the last time I provided you an update about our COVID-19 response. Our priorities have evolved and it has been a balance of internal capacity, imperative continuity and the need for the complementarity against the context of a complex and fluid pandemic. For this reason, we have to optimize as we go to make sure we remain relevant to the coronavirus response. However, there are four fundamental blocks that informed our prioritization model, and these will remain constant.

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04.28 2020

When I last reached out to all of you, I felt like we were in the middle of a sprint. A sprint to mitigate the impact that COVID-19 could have on the people and the health systems in the communities where we work across sub-Saharan Africa. To make sure our staff are safe and healthy in locations where they could stay for the foreseeable futures as borders closed. To ensure we can financially support the work that we have committed to as well as the new demands and needs. To figure out what working from home looks like for a global team where much of our work is done moving through communities, collaboratively in meetings and working groups, and by moving vaccines and essential medicines to health centers across the country. In this last month, business as usual has changed dramatically but our commitment to make sure health service delivery reaches everyone has not.

In a time of crisis, coordination is one of the biggest challenges. Our relationships with governments in the places where we work allows us to focus our efforts and put our resources where they are most needed.

I am so proud of what we have been able to do so far.

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04.27 2020

In Mozambique, getting medicines to provincial warehouses is only one step in the supply chain journey. From there, changemakers like Chaido Francisco Nomeado ensure those medicines get to remote health centers. Chaido is a dispatch clerk responsible for delivering medicines to six health centers in the hardest-to-reach district in Zambézia province, Chinde. His journey requires several days, a “change of wheels” for a six-hour sailboat ride across the Zambezi River and a lot of discomfort navigating rough roads and battling mosquitoes. But to him, being a dispatch clerk is not just a job, it is a mission.

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04.21 2020

Patience Tchongwe always knew she would be ready to answer the call when it came to public service. When she joined Malawi’s Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or health center by phone in Chichewa, her desire to make a difference was realized.

In 2015, Tchongwe became a part of the hotline as a nurse midwife specializing in nutrition and food science. At that time, CCPF was only operating in two districts and with three volunteers behind the phones offering advice about maternal and child health. But even in its early stages, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and Tchongwe’s team could see the value the hotline was bringing to Malawians.

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04.09 2020

Originally posted on

As countries across Africa test, trace contacts, and confirm cases of COVID-19, at VillageReach we are listening, learning and adjusting. I have been receiving regular updates from VillageReach Country Directors across our country offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi and Mozambique. For weeks now, we have focused our attention on how to prepare our staff and support our government partners in the ministries of health (MoHs). This has meant employing the best methods for rapid-response communication because the first-line of attack is to fight misinformation.

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03.19 2020

I wanted to take a moment to personally update you on how VillageReach is adapting to the global spread of COVID-19 and responding to its impact on health systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

VillageReach has seen over and over again that during times of crisis, essential health services often decline which can have a lasting impact on the health of communities. One of the most important things that we can do is to ensure that essential services remain as uninterrupted as is possible. Preventative interventions like vaccines and access to essential medicines remain critical parts of any pandemic response.

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Malawi healthcare worker