Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
05.02 2019

Last month Cyclone Idai, one of the strongest storms that touched Mozambique in nearly 20 years, tore through Beira and across Sofala province. What people weren’t expecting was something even worse. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall as a Category 4 cyclone on Wednesday, April 24th in Cabo Delgado province, and swept Pemba away. Days after the cyclone, northern Mozambique continued experiencing unrelenting rains, once again affecting nearly 190,000 people.

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04.23 2019

Cyclone Idai hit over a month ago and while the news cycle is winding down, the struggles to rebuild the communities and the stories of those impacted have only just begun. Numbers can hardly express the level of impact that the cyclone has had on the lives of Mozambicans. It is reading first-hand stories – like the story of baby Sara who was born in a mango tree while flood waters rose – that show the impact of the storm.

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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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04.04 2019

Patuma and her daughter who benefit from Chipatala cha pa Foni – Health Center by Phone.

I am pleased to share VillageReach’s 2018 Annual Impact Report  with you. This year’s report demonstrates the gains we made last year in collaboration with Ministries of Health across sub-Saharan Africa and our private and non-profit partners. It takes a deep level of commitment to build sustainable solutions that increase access to health care for all, and we appreciate our generous donors and partners who help make this possible.

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03.31 2019

Last week I attended assessment meetings with the government and members of the international development community in Maputo. The situation is even more critical with the new threat of waterborne diseases. On Sunday, Ussene Isse, the national director of medical assistance, confirmed 517* cases of cholera. In response, WHO is dispatching 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine.

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03.22 2019

Almost one week ago, Cyclone Idai touched down off the coast of Mozambique, hitting Beira and nearby villages and leaving a path of destruction across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Now it is a race against time for frontline aid workers, who are working quickly to reach thousands of people trapped by the flooding.

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01.31 2019

Ensuring access

Helena José Virgílio, José Maria, and Pedro Terezanane represent hundreds of heroes who, come rain or come shine, guarantee the availability of medicines and other medical commodities in health centers. As a result, patients countrywide have access to the medicines they need.  In addition to being the day-to-day heroes who ensure the availability of medicines in the health centers, they share the same expectations for the introduction of the Last Mile Supply Chain program.

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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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07.18 2018

When we think about innovation, what often comes to mind are software and smartphones. But sometimes, innovation is what you end up with when trying to solve a problem. In Mozambique, we did this by finding a way to coordinate drivers who were already traveling near health facilities to help with lab sample delivery. Last week, after six months of planning the approach and adapting the mobile application, AmosTaxi was born.

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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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Malawi healthcare worker