Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
05.15 2020

Originally posted on medium.com.

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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04.21 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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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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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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09.10 2019

VillageReach has partnered with stakeholders at local, regional and global levels since 2015 to explore the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for health. UAS, also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are being evaluated for integration into health systems alongside traditional land- and water-based modes of transportation. Drones have the potential to improve the availability of health products, increase equity of access and save time and money compared to ground transportation particularly in geographically challenging areas.

Read the overview here (PDF).

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