Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
04.09 2020

Originally posted on medium.com.

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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03.11 2020

VillageReach and the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) received a prestigious award from The National Planning Commission (NPC) recognizing Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) or “Health Center by Phone” as a Transformative Initiative for the country. CCPF is a toll-free health hotline in Malawi that creates a link between the health center and remote communities. CCPF is staffed by trained health workers who provide information and referrals over the phone. Originally only operating in one district, the hotline is now nationwide and being integrated into the Malawian health system.

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03.09 2020

Access to health care was challenging for under-reached communities in Malawi. Now Malawians can dial 54747 to reach Patience Tchongwe, senior hotline supervisor and recent award winner, and her team of hotline staff who are always ready to take the call.

Tchongwe, a trained nurse in the area of nutrition and midwifery, offers health and nutrition information and provides referrals to callers of the service. “I truly enjoy answering calls, helping people, giving them the health information they need and to help individuals and their families to make informed decisions so they know where and when to seek medical care,” said Tchongwe.

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12.10 2019

VillageReach is pleased to announce three new board members: Dr. Iyabo Tinubu-Karch, Dr.Vivien Tsu and Stephan Coonrod, J.D.

We also want to thank our outgoing directors who join our prestigious emeritus circle and remain as advisors to the organization: Sir Michael Free, O.B.E., Kari Glover and Laura Herman. We thank them for their invaluable leadership and contributions to VillageReach during their tenure as directors. We want to especially acknowledge the long-time commitment of Sir Michael Free who was instrumental in the founding of VillageReach 20 years ago and has been an advisor and director ever since.

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11.25 2019

Originally posted on the Skoll Foundation Blog.

Last week as we prepared for a panel on transitioning health solutions to government, Skoll Principal Liz Diebold introduced me to the word game Mad Libs. While I’d never filled in the blanks for fun as a kid, the idea immediately made sense. Whenever something gets overly complex—as our work in health systems often does—boiling something down to its essence can help get the point across.

Liz and I, along with our moderator Nosa Orobaton, Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mike Kollins, Director of Programs from Splash, tried to come up with a pithy way to introduce ourselves for a session, Best Practices in Transitioning Solutions to Government. I agreed that the sentence: Scale matters because_____________ was a great way to get us started.

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10.16 2019

The world has changed greatly in the nearly 20 years since our founders – Blaise Judja-Sato, Craig Nakagawa, Lionel Pierre, and Didier Lavril – joined forces with Mrs. Graça Machel’s Foundation for Community Development in Mozambique to make sure every health center in Northern Mozambique had regular access to vaccines. This year, VillageReach staff and board of directors stepped back to reflect on where we have been since then and where we are going. Today I am thrilled to share with you the results of this reflection – VillageReach’s 2020-2023 Goals and Strategies.

VillageReach’s 2020-2023 Goals and Strategies

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Malawi healthcare worker