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Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Category Archives: Technology

01.19 2022

Originally posted on Dronelife.com.

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed health systems across the globe. In the shadows lies other diseases that can cause more emergencies, such as yellow fever. To face these threats, creative solutions are required to stop the next health crisis. This is exactly what the provincial health officials of Equateur province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), are doing by leveraging an ongoing drone delivery network established in 2020. It will support a mass yellow fever immunization campaign targeting over 90% of the population, one village at a time.

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12.21 2021

Originally posted at Forbes.com

In much of the social sector, the dichotomy between those served and those serving still influences the way we work. We may talk about global health, but when we say global, I’ve found we usually mean low-resource countries. This line of thinking, with its colonial roots, only reinforces often false dichotomies between donor and recipient countries and communities.

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09.08 2021

In a pandemic, innovation is not an option. It is a requirement.

At VillageReach, innovation has long been a core value. We believe creativity and fearless exploration are essential to developing sustainable solutions that improve the availability of health services and foster lasting change for communities everywhere.

We also know that in times of crisis, innovation can take many forms — from new ideas and new ways of working, to new uses for existing tools. Over the past 18 months VillageReach has supported governments across the countries we work in, relying on our spirit of innovation to both respond to COVID-19 now and strengthen health systems for the future.

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06.25 2019

Originally posted on Medium.com

NextWing (flynextwing.com) conducted test flights at Malawi’s Kasungu drone testing corridor in March 2019


Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an emerging technology that hold a lot of promise to improve access to health care for the most underserved populations in hard-to-reach areas.
Additionally, it can provide time savings in critical situations in busy urban areas with heavy traffic congestion. Despite becoming commonplace in recreational settings, and being utilized in various sectors, drones are still a nascent technology when it comes to transporting medical products. With every flight test, VillageReach continues to uncover new insights that prove invaluable to pave the way towards drone introduction and integration into health systems. VillageReach is aware of the complexity and technical expertise required to test drones and the findings gleaned from similar projects in other countries are critical to ensure readiness in deploying the technology as a viable supply chain solution.

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12.19 2018

Reposted from OpenLMIS

The latest release of the OpenLMIS software, version 3.5, is a major accomplishment for the Initiative and a milestone for public health supply chain stakeholders globally.  3.5 is the sixth major release since the re architecture and represents how implementers continue to obtain value from the community.

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09.05 2018

Originally posted on Medium.

To transform health care delivery in far-reaching areas of Mozambique, it takes creativity, thinking outside of the box, resilience and strong commitment. It also requires a team approach and a lot of early buy-in. Engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders and being inclusive of a range of voices from the start is paramount to the work that we do at VillageReach, and particularly with a new and evolving technology like drones.

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07.03 2018

Originally posted on Medium. 

Imagine this: you have a cough. At first, it’s annoying, but you try to ignore it. It grows more persistent and you start worrying about getting your kids sick, so you decide to go see a health professional. Now imagine the nearest clinic is 10 kilometres away or more — and even though you’re coughing and tired, you have to walk or ride a bike to get there. You have taken time away from work and used precious financial resources to get to the clinic. Once you arrive, the health worker decides to test you for tuberculosis (TB), and says to return in 2–3 weeks for your results, as the health facility does not have a laboratory on-site.

The day of your follow-up arrives, and you again make the 10 kilometre trip back to the clinic. But there is only disappointing news: they couldn’t get the specimen to the laboratory fast enough, and therefore the test could not be conducted. They recommend that you travel even further to a different facility and repeat the test. Meanwhile, your family has also started coughing. Feel frustrated? Or hopeless? This is a reality that VillageReach along with DFID Mozambique, Ministry of Health, and other partners are trying to change in rural Mozambique.

And we are doing it using drones.

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06.19 2018

Benat Kalebe is a pharmacy technician at Ntchisi District Hospital, Malawi.

On any given day, you may find Benat Kalebe organizing his storeroom or dispensing medicines at the Ntchisi District Hospital. He may be working in the hospital’s different wards, providing support for the nurses and doctors while keeping a close eye on the stock levels of the medicines they use. But Benat is more than the hospital’s pharmacy technician. He is a conduit for life-saving medicines for 16 health facilities throughout Ntchisi District in Malawi.

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04.18 2018

Imagine a world with 18 million healthier children than today. Their lungs haven’t been collapsed by diphtheria, their legs haven’t been crippled by polio, they haven’t died from pneumonia before they were named.

These children grew up strong and healthy.

How do we make this imagined world a reality?  This is what drives the OpenLMIS community every day. We strongly believe that with better access to supplies, data and feedback loops, vaccine rates will increase. OpenLMIS is at the forefront of moving information closer to those who need it and back to those who provided it.  We do this by working with you– with partners, with governments and with health workers, OpenLMIS has developed an open source technology that supports the distribution of public health products to hard-to-reach places.

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Malawi healthcare worker