Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Category Archives: Vaccines

08.27 2019

Originally posted on Medium.com

I started working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) four years ago when VillageReach was approached with an opportunity–to improve the availability of vaccines and essential medicines in rural Equateur province. 

I never back down from a challenge, and this one couldn’t be more difficult given the forest density, the river running through the province, and lack of roads. What roads there were would get washed away or become mud pistes for Land Cruisers during the rainy season. 

In countries like DRC, supply chains are designed with the environment in mind and drones looked promising for vaccine distribution given these conditions. After months of building the case for testing drones, the plan to perform a series of demonstration flights was approved.

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04.26 2019

Jean Louis Esanzo in his clinic

Jean Louis Esanzo, is the Superintendent Nurse at the Konongo Health Center, in the Mankanza health district of Equateur province, DRC. Konongo Health Center supplies vaccines and essential medicines for many surrounding villages. However, the only way to get vaccines to Konongo from the provincial warehouse is by boat on the Congo River. This means long journeys and high transportation costs the health center could not afford, which led to frequent vaccine stock outs in the past.

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04.09 2019

When Cyclone Idai hit nearly three weeks ago, it caused significant destruction to health infrastructures, with 54 health centers inoperable, as of April 9th.

Destruction in Beira Central Hospital

There was also extensive damage to Beira Central Hospital, which is the main hospital in the province. Poor access to health centers continues to be the greatest challenge in restocking essential medicines and medical supplies. Now, there are more than 35 partners engaged in health relief efforts, including VillageReach.

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