Search our comprehensive archive for detailed documentation of our work including  evaluations, studies, journal articles, publications and more.

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Evaluations and Reports

Promoting Equitable Health Product Access through Supply Chain Design

Too often, vaccines and other essential health products are not available when and where they are needed, particularly in under-served populations. VillageReach has developed a four-step guide for governments and implementing partners to purposefully consider equity in supply chain design, with a particular focus on reaching four populations: the urban poor, people living in conflict settings, remote or rural populations and migrants.

CCPF Impact Evaluation

CCPF Impact Evaluation

The Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and VillageReach developed Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) – “Health Center by Phone” – as a community-based hotline in the Balaka district of Malawi. This summary shares the findings of a 2018 impact evaluation of the program.

Learning Network Informant Summary

Informant Interview

A summary of interviews with nearly 40 stakeholders that explores practical challenges to government adoption of solutions where sustained impact at scale
requires government ownership, management or operation and gathers input on forming a collaborative network to address these challenges.

Reaching the Under-Reached: 2020 - 2023 Goals and Strategies

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

Over the past two decades, we have seen extraordinary progress and improvement to health in low-and middle-income countries. Due to economic growth in much of sub-Saharan Africa, more people have access to quality health services than ever before. But progress is not accelerating fast enough – nor is it equitable.

This is a pivotal moment, as a global community we must address the health care inequities that still exist for millions of under-reached people.

VillageReach envisions a world where each person has the health care needed to thrive. Yet in our world, inequality unfairly decides…

Optimisation de la chaine d’approvisionnements des vaccins et autres commodités en Guinée : Introduction à l’approche de la conception des systèmes

Ce présent rapport en décrit l’approche et la méthode suivies ainsi que les étapes pour la mise en œuvre d’une nouvelle génération des CAV en Guinée.

Improving Health Supply Chains in Guinea: Abridged Workshop Report

The January 2017 workshop in Conakry represents the first stage of the system design approach in Guinea—characterizing the existing supply chain performance and building stakeholder interest and commitment. Approximately 25 attendees participated in this workshop with representation from national, provincial and health facility levels as well as local partners. This workshop focused on optimizing vaccine supply chains in Guinea using the system design approach.

Evaluation of the Information and Communications Technology for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project

December 1, 2013

This report presents the results of an evaluation by Invest in Knowledge Initiative (IKI) of the Information and Communications Technology for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (ICT for MNCH) Pilot Project, which is a project of the Concern Worldwide’s Innovations of Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Project initiative.

Social Entrepreneurship and Systems Change: VillageReach

May 2, 2017

This teaching case study explores the role of social entrepreneurship played in the Dedicated Logistics System in Mozambique.

Beyond Organizational Scale: How Social Entrepreneurs Create System Change

May 2, 2017

The objective of this report is to help practitioners understand what system change means in the context of social entrepreneurship, how it is distinct from direct service models, and most importantly what it looks like in practice.

Costs Associated with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Transportation of Laboratory Samples in Malawi

June 1, 2016

The purpose of this analysis is to provide insights into the costs associated with an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for moving laboratory samples and results between health facilities and laboratories in Malawi. In order to contextualize the results, the UAS costs were compared to the standard method of transporting samples via motorcycle.

HMIS-LMIS Integration: Generalized Use Cases based on Assessments in Three Countries

January 25, 2017

This report documents results of the HMIS-LMIS integration assessments in Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia.

Vers une nouvelle génération des chaînes d'approvisionnement des vaccins et commodités de santé en RDC : Optimisation par l’approche des conceptions des systèmes

November 1, 2016

Rapport du deuxième atelier d’optimisation des chaînes d’approvisionnement sanitaire de la province de l’Equateur

Integrated RMNCH Dashboards

August 31, 2016
Integrated RMNCH Dashboards

Technology, People & Processes: Enabling Successful HMIS/LMIS Integrations

August 31, 2016
Technology, People & Processes: Enabling Successful HMIS/LMIS Integrations

This UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities report discusses the integrated HMIS/LMIS Dashboard pilots in Senegal and Tanzania. The report provides case studies and lessons learned from these integrations.

Finding Efficiencies in the Immunization Supply Chain in Zambia, Workshop Report

July 1, 2016
Finding Efficiencies in the Immunisation Supply Chain in Zambia

This report summarizes a workshop to identify areas for improvement in Zambia’s immunization supply chain and define optional scenarios for computer modeling.

Introducing Modeling to the Mozambique Vaccine Supply Chain, Workshop Report

October 1, 2014
Introducing Modeling to the Mozambique Vaccine Supply Chain, Workshop Report

This report summarizes a workshop focused on capacity building for using modeling, interpreting the results, and moving decisions forward for system optimization. The report provides the context of the workshop, key themes that emerged, details of scenarios modeled, and preliminary results of those models.

ODK Scan Field Test - TB Registers in Pakistan

July 29, 2016

This report provides the results of the ODK Scan field trial conducted in Pakistan, where ODK Scan was used for Tuberculosis Registers.

Diagnostic des Systèmes d’Information de Gestion Logistique (SIGL) en Guinée

September 1, 2015
Diagnostic des Systèmes d’Information de Gestion Logistique (SIGL) en Guinée

An Assessment of the LMIS in Guinea (French)

Pharmacy Assistant Program Year Three Report

February 20, 2016
Pharmacy Assistant Program Year Three Report

Barr Global approved a three-year grant of $1,500,000 to VillageReach to fund the training of at least 150 Pharmacy Assistants (PAs) for health facility deployment to improve pharmaceutical management in rural Malawi. This report provides an update on the progress made during the third year of the three-year grant (from August 2015 to January 2016).

2015 Kwitanda Evaluation

2015 Kwitanda Evaluation

Annual report. Our comprehensive reports detailing the results of annual evaluations of the VillageReach community-based health program in Kwitanda, Malawi.

Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2015)

March 16, 2016
Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2015)

This Performance Report provides a summary of the routine metrics for performance of the Dedicated Logistics System from January-June 2015.

Evaluation of the Project to Support PAV (Expanded Program on Immunization) In Northern Mozambique, 2001-2008:

Evaluation of the Project to Support PAV (Expanded Program on Immunization) In Northern Mozambique, 2001-2008:

Comparison of Costs Incurred in Dedicated and Diffused Vaccine Logistics Systems

Comparison of Costs Incurred in Dedicated and Diffused Vaccine Logistics Systems Cost

Cost-Effectiveness of Vaccine Logistics in Cabo Delgado and Niassa Provinces Mozambique

Statistical Analysis Evaluation of the Project to Support PAV 2008

Statistical Analysis - Evaluation of the Project to Support PAV

Field Work Results and Data Analysis from the Evaluation of the MISAU/FDC/VillageReach Project to Support PAV in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique

ODK Scan in Malawi Final Field Test Report

December 7, 2015
ODK Scan in Malawi Final Field Test Report (Dec. 2015)

A report of ODK Scan as tested in a field trial in Malawi. The objectives of this first field trial were to determine: 1) usability of the ODK Scan-­‐compatible paper
form by frontline health workers (HSAs); 2) data recognition accuracy; 3) usability of ODK Scan by field
office administrative officers.

Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2015)

December 7, 2015
Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2015)

This Performance Report provides a summary of the routine metrics for performance of the Dedicated Logistics System


ColdTrace Report: Year One Feedback from the Field

November 20, 2015
ColdTrace Report: Year One

This report serves as an assessment of the ColdTrace pilot currently deployed in the southern part of Gaza province.ColdTrace is a remote temperature monitoring (RTM) system developed by the Los Angeles based non-­‐profit, Nexleaf Analytics.

DRC Supply Chain Assessment (English)

October 30, 2015
DRC Supply Chain Assesment: Exploring New Distribution Models for Vaccines and other Health Commodities

Exploring New Distribution Models for Vaccines and other Health Commodities Adapted to the on the Ground Realities of the Equateur and Tshuapa Provinces, Democratic Republic of Congo. By Olivier Defawe and Wendy Prosser

ODK Scan Product Recommendations Report

April 1, 2015
ODK Scan Product Recommendations Report

The purpose of this document is to identify the real-world data collection needs of global health organizations in order to inform development and deployment of Open Data Kit (ODK) Scan. General use cases for ODK Scan have been previously identified1, such as digitization of child health cards and health registers. Building on that broad understanding, this report examines the specific needs of organizations actively seeking data digitization solutions and proposes improvements to ODK Scan in order to meet these needs.

Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2014)

February 27, 2015
Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System

This Performance Report provides a summary of the routine metrics for performance of the Dedicated Logistics System
(DLS) for vaccines January-December 2014

Narrative Report for IWG mHealth Catalytic Grant Mechanism: VillageReach

February 18, 2015
Narrative Report for IWG mHealth Catalytic Grant Mechanism: VillageReach

A narrative report to the mHealth Alliance IWG covering the two year project to scale-up CCPF detailing the progress of the mhealth program from a small pilot project in 4 health center catchment areas in Balaka District to a service operating in four districts with plans to scale to an additional 3 districts in 2015.

DLS Report January-June 2014

June 30, 2014

The Performance Report for the DLS January-June 2014

2014 Kwitanda Evaluation

2014 Evaluation of VillageReach work in Kwitanda, Malawi

Evaluation of Health System Transport Capacity and Demand

June 1, 2014

This report examines current conditions of transport fleets and logistics practices managed by the Mozambique Ministry of Health (MISAU), evaluates the health system’s transport ability to fulfill its goals, and considers the unique business environment and practices of private transport operators in Mozambique in order to suggest conditions under which private sector transporters could support MISAU’s freight transport and distribution requirements.

Evaluation of the Information and Communications Technology for Maternal Newborn and Child Health Project

February 1, 2014

This executive summary presents the results of a mixed-methods evaluation on the effectiveness of a two-year mHealth pilot implemented by VillageReach as part of Concern Worldwide’s Innovations in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The summary is based on the full evaluation report created by Invest in Knowledge (IKI).

District Logistics Capacity Study

April 1, 2013

This report provides findings and recommendations from a study examining the health logistics capacity and performance of 53 districts in Mozambique. The study analyzes quantitative and qualitative evidence obtained through surveys with 114 Pharmacy, PAV (Expanded Programme on Immunization), and Management personnel in health facilities/medicine stores in all health districts across four provinces: Maputo, Gaza, Niassa, and Cabo Delgado. This survey sample represents just under 40% of all districts in Mozambique’s health system.

Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2013)

This Performance Report summarizes the Dedicated Logistics System (DLS) routine performance metrics and findings
from a process evaluation for the province(s) and period January-June 2013.

Pharmacy & Supply Chain Strengthening Program

November 20, 2012
Barr Foundation

Program updates for the three-year Pharmacy & Supply Chain Strengthening Program to improve access to essential medicines.

Performance Report of the Dedicated Logistics System (2012)

Mozambique Dedicated Logistics System Performance Report

Kwitanda 2012


Annual report. Our comprehensive reports detailing the results of annual evaluations of the VillageReach community-based health program in Kwitanda, Malawi.

Logistics Systems and Mangement Assessment in Sofala, Manica, and Tete Provinces: Results on an Independent Consultancy for CHASS-SMT

March 28, 2012

Results of an Independent Consultancy for CHASS-SMT. The objective of the consultancy was to conduct a rapid assessment of logistics systems and logistics management capacity at provincial and (selected) district levels to identify strengths and weaknesses of the logistics systems in the SMT provinces. The assessment focused on general logistics infrastructure, information management, transport management, planning and coordination, stock management, financial resources, human resources, and processes and policies. A general strategy of data triangulation was used, and the assessment included interviews with key stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain; document reviews at the provincial, district, and health center levels; tracing key commodities throughout the supply chain from province to district and health centers; and visual verification.

Kwitanda 2011


Annual report. Our comprehensive reports detailing the results of annual evaluations of the VillageReach community-based health program in Kwitanda, Malawi.

Kwitanda 2010


Annual report. Our comprehensive reports detailing the results of annual evaluations of the VillageReach community-based health program in Kwitanda, Malawi.

Cost Summary - Study

June 1, 2009

A summary of the cost study comparing the cost-effectiveness of VillageReach’s dedicated vaccine logistics system versus a diffuse vaccine logistics system. The study found that implementation of VillageReach’s dedicated logistics system generated both an absolute cost savings as well as increased cost efficiency.

Impact Evaluation - Summary

November 1, 2008
Mark Kane, MD, MPH

A summary of the comprehensive evaluation analyzing the impact of VillageReach’s pilot project in Cabo Delgado. The evaluation found that VillageReach’s project increased immunization rates from 68.4% to 95.4%, reduced vaccine stockouts, and improved training and supervision for health center staff.

Fact Sheets

Nouvelle génération des chaînes d’approvisionnement en RDC : renforcer les chaînes d’approvisionnement au dernier kilomètre

October 11, 2017
Nouvelle génération des chaînes d’approvisionnement en RDC : renforcer les chaînes d’approvisionnement au dernier kilomètre

An Overview of system design work in DRC.

VillageReach Overview 02082017

February 8, 2017
VillageReach Overview

A high level summary of VillageReach mission, programs, impact and capabilities.

OpenLMIS Feature Guide

October 25, 2016
OpenLMIS Feature Guide

Mission, Goals, and Strategies FY16-FY19

January 4, 2016
Mission, Goals, Strategies 2016-2019

The current articulation (2016-2019) of VillageReach’s mission, goals and strategies.

ODK Scan Overview

ODK Overview Poster

A one page informational poster describing what ODK Scan is.

VillageReach Overview

VillageReach Overview

A general overview of VillageReach- our model, approach and examples of key innovations.



An overview of OpenLMIS, its benefits and features.

Journal Articles

Leading from all levels: building supply chain leadership capacity in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

British Medial Journal

This paper documents the learnings from a supply chain leadership intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which aimed to build leadership capacity in a cross-tier group of central/provincial/district-level leaders.

Routine Health Care in the Time of Ebola

Stanford Social Innovation Review

President Emily Bancroft’s response to a wide-scale Ebola outbreak provides six lessons in sustainable impact for NGO leaders.

Scaling up a health and nutrition hotline in Malawi: the benefits of multisectoral collaboration

British Medical Journal

Carla Blauvelt and colleagues describe a multisectoral collaboration that enabled the scale up of a health advice telephone service and its transition to government in Malawi.

Re-designing the Mozambique vaccine supply chain to improve access to vaccines

August 26, 2016

This article looks at the immunization system re-design in Mozambique, which can serve as a model for other countries during the Decade of Vaccines. Re-design improved not only supply chain efficacy but also efficiency, important since resources to deliver vaccines are limited.

Examination of Patient Flow in a Rural Health Center in Malawi

July 25, 2016
BMC Research Notes

Despite shortages in health workers and funds, opportunities are available to increase efficiency in rural
health centers. By removing bottlenecks to increase the productivity of health workers, centers in low-income countries
can treat more patients and improve service quality.

Strengthening the home-to-facility continuum of newborn and child health care through mHealth: Evidence from an intervention in rural Malawi

June 10, 2015
African Population Studies Special Edition 2015

This paper assesses the impact of a mobile health (mHealth) project on uptake of home-based care for newborn and child health, and investigates the extent to which uptake of home-based care resulted into lessened pressure on health facilities for conditions that can be handled at the household level. It uses mixed methods consisting of cross-sectional household surveys data from a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design as well as qualitative data. The results show a large, positive effect of the project on the aggregate home-based care for child health, and a sharp, negative impact on facility-based care seeking for fever among children whose mothers/caretakers used the services offered by the intervention. Reasons for using the services mainly relate to the potential of avoiding unnecessary trips to the health facility for care that could be provided at home. The project provides insights on mHealth and community-based programming to improve newborn and child health care delivery

Fostering the use of quasi-experimental designs for evaluating public health interventions: insights from an mHealth project in Malawi

June 10, 2015
African Population Studies Special Edition 2015

The evidence base to support the growing field of mHealth is relatively nascent, with most studies lacking the level of rigor needed to inform scale up of interventions. This paper investigates the impact of a maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) mHealth project in Malawi, comparing the intention-to-treat (ITT) and the treatment on the treated (TOT) estimates, and discussing the implications for future evaluations. Services offered included a toll-free case management hotline and mobile messaging service for women and children. The evaluation methods included a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design, consisting of cross-sectional household surveys. A total of 4,230 women were interviewed in the intervention area and 2,463 in the control site. While the intervention did not have any ITT effects of the MNCH outcomes studied, there were large TOT effects. Rigorous evaluation designs can be successfully applied to mHealth pilot projects, helping to understand what works and what does not.

Improving care-seeking for facility-based health services in a rural, resource-limited setting

June 1, 2015
African Population Studies Special Edition 2015

The aim of this paper was to investigate the impact of a toll-free hotline and mobile messaging service on care-seeking behaviors. Due to the low uptake of the services, the treatment on the treated estimate is used. For maternal health, the intervention had a strong, positive impact on antenatal care initiation and skilled birth attendance. No effect was observed for postnatal check-ups, receiving the recommended four antenatal care visits and vitamin A uptake. A negative effect was observed on tetanus toxoid coverage. For child health, no change was seen in child immunization, and a significant decrease was observed for care-seeking for children with fever. Different factors are associated with care-seeking, which may explain in part the variations seen across care-seeking behaviors and possible influence of exogenous factors. Introduction of mHealth services for demand generation require attention.

Scale Matters: A Cost-Outcome Analysis of an m-Health Intervention in Malawi

September 8, 2015
Telemedicine and eHealth

Despite promising evidence on the benefits of such mHealth technologies, considerable gaps exist in the economic evaluations of m-health interventions. In a global survey on m-health solutions conducted by the World Health Organization, lack of cost-effectiveness data was identified. In order to strengthen the knowledge base for the assessment of m-health technology, the authors have undertaken a cost outcome analysis of an m-health intervention.Published in the Journal of Telemedicine and eHealth, the primary objectives of this study are to determine cost per user and cost per contact with users of a mobile health (m-health) intervention. Authors: Larsen-Cooper Erin, Bancroft Emily, Rajagopal Sharanya, O’Toole Maggie, and Levin Ann.

Where there is no phone: The benefits and limitations of using intermediaries to extend the reach of mHealth to individuals without personal phones in Malawi

June 10, 2015
African Population Studies

Study Published in African Population Studies Vol 29, No 1 (2015): Supplement on Leveraging Mobile Technology to Reduce Barriers to Maternal, Newborn And Child Health Care. The purpose of this study is to identify the benefits and limitations associated with intermediaries to provide access to and increase utilization of an mHealth intervention amongst people without personal phones in Balaka District, Malawi. A mixed-methods approach was utilized including quantitative data on usage and focus groups and interviews with users and volunteers. Community volunteers equipped with mobile phones served as intermediaries and were critical access points to the service for users without personal phones.

Introducing an enhanced cadre of pharmacy assistants to improve dispensing, management, and availability of medicines at the health centre level in Malawi

December 17, 2014
Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice

Abstract: VillageReach, in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health, the Malawi College of Health Sciences and the University of Washington Global Medicines Program, is addressing key barriers to medicines availability by implementing a new approach to training, deployment, and support of an enhanced pharmacy assistant cadre. Key aspects of the program include curriculum redesign to include more content to enhance skills in supply chain management and an extensive practicum component at public health facilities

Other duties as required: Efficient use of Human Resources in Mozambique

December 17, 2014
Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice

Journal Abstract: The crisis in human resources for health in low-income countries has been documented many times over by research and experience. A fundamental issue in human resources in the vaccine supply chain is the system in which the health worker is working, which requires more than training and revised guidelines to address.

Rapid diagnostic test supply chain and consumption study in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

August 2, 2014
Malaria Journal

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are particularly useful in low-resource settings where follow-through on traditional laboratory diagnosis is challenging or lacking. The availability of these tests depends on supply chain processes within the distribution system. In Mozambique, stock-outs of malaria RDTs are fairly common at health facilities. A longitudinal cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate drivers of stock shortages in the Cabo Delgado province.

Rapid diagnostic test supply chain and consumption study in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

August 2, 2014
Malaria Journal

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are particularly useful in low-resource settings where follow-through on traditional laboratory diagnosis is challenging or lacking. The availability of these tests depends on supply chain processes within the distribution system. In Mozambique, stock-outs of malaria RDTs are fairly common at health facilities. A longitudinal cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate drivers of stock shortages in the Cabo Delgado province…

Global Health: Science and Practice

SMS versus voice messaging to deliver MNCH communication in rural Malawi: assessment of delivery success and user experience

Global Health: Science and Practice – SMS versus voice messaging to deliver MNCH communication in rural Malawi: assessment of delivery success and user experience. Read the full article published in Global Health: Science and Progress.

SMS versus voice messaging to deliver MNCH communication in rural Malawi: assessment of delivery success and user experience

January 28, 2014
Global Health: Science and Practice

SMS versus voice messaging to deliver MNCH communication in rural Malawi: assessment of delivery success and user experience. Read the full article published in Global Health: Science and Progress..

Integrating ODK Scan into the Supply Chain in Mozambique

December 1, 2013
UW, VillageReach, John Snow, Inc.

This paper describes our experiences integrating ODK Scan into the community health worker (CHW) supply chain in Mozambique. ODK Scan is a mobile application that uses computer vision techniques to digitize data from paper forms.

Harvard Business Review

VidaGas: A Case Study

July 9, 2009
Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review: This case describes the evolution of a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distributor start-up, incubated by two not-for-profit NGOs to help improve the vaccine…

Harvard Business Review

VidaGas: A Case Study

June 11, 2009
Harvard Business Review

This case describes the evolution of a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distributor start-up, incubated by two not-for-profit NGOs to help improve the vaccine cold chain in Northern Mozambique. These NGOs must face the decision whether and how to sell their participation in the start-up. VillageReach and the Mozambican Foundation for Community Development (FDC), both NGOs, got involved in the national immunization program, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), in northern Mozambique. This program’s goal was to ensure prompt and universal access to vaccines and other medical supplies.


Cyclone Idai & Cyclone Kenneth

Cyclone Idai & Cyclone Kenneth
Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall over Mozambique between March 14 and 15, producing torrential rains and strong winds across the country. Cyclone Kenneth followed a month later and made landfall as a Category 4 cyclone on Wednesday, April 24 in Cabo Delgado province, affecting nearly 190,000 people…

The potential of next-generation supply chains to ease DRC’s “Casse-tête”

Looking at the challenges of vaccine delivery in the DRC today and why a new or “next-generation” immunization supply chain is needed, what it might look like, and its potential benefits.

Ellena's Story

Reaching Ellena

Ellena Sosteni is a 31-one-year-old mother of five who lives in a rural village in the Balaka district of Malawi. With the nearest health facility several kilometers away, Ellena and her family must walk about 2 hours to access basic health care services.

While visiting a village clinic, Ellena learned about Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone, from a community  health worker.  CCPF is a toll-free health hotline and message service in Malawi. CCPF creates a critical link between the health center and remote communities, increasing access to health information and care where it’s needed most.

After several weeks of persistent headache and feeling lethargic, Ellena decided to call CCPF. The hotline worker advised Ellena to consult a doctor to explore the possibility of pregnancy and to rule out malaria. Elena visited the health facility three days after calling CCPF where her pregnancy was confirmed.

Upon finding out she was pregnant, Ellena called CCPF again where she received advice on the importance of antenatal care, proper nutrition and the effects of hormonal changes during pregnancy.
In rural communities like Balaka, where getting to a health center is difficult, people…

Patuma's Story

Patuma’s Story

Patuma Richard’s family is  a mother of five  who lives in Kazondo Village in Balaka, a district in southern Malawi.

Until recently, their 5-year-old daughter Pricilla suffered from Epistaxis, frequent nose bleeds exacerbated by hot weather and malnutrition.  Patuma’s family does not have transportation, and the nearest health facility is more than an hour’s journey away on foot.  Patuma and Pricilla have made this journey several times in the past few months. A few months ago, when Priscilla began to vomit blood  they set out once again on the long trip to the hospital. When they arrived, the medication used to treat the condition was stocked out (a common occurrence), and instead she was given painkillers which did not help her condition. Frustrated, Patuma and Pricilla began the long journey back home to their village.
This is the last mile of healthcare – where distance, infrastructure, availability of medicines and trained health workers are a constant challenge. Because of distance in particular, making the decision to seek care is often a difficult one: weighing the cost and physical impact of travel against health concerns.
Fortunately, Patuma found out about CCPF. When Patuma called…

Supply Chain & Logistics

This is the summary of our work in the Supply Chain category on the VillageReach web site – under the “OUR WORK” section.

Robert Phiri, PA Graduate

The Start of a New Career: Robert’s Story
Robert Phiri is part of the first class of graduates from  the Pharmacy Assistant Training Program in Malawi, the result of a collaboration between the Malawi Ministry of Health, the U.S. Government through the USAID | Deliver Project, the Malawi College of Health Sciences, University of Washington Global Medicines Program, and Seattle-based NGO VillageReach. The program produces a dedicated cadre of individuals with enhanced training in medicines management and supply chain practices with a plan to eventually support each of Malawi’s 650 rural health centers.

Robert graduated in June 2015 and was placed at Lidzulu Health Center in Ntcheu District in June 2015 which serves a population of 45,000.


I enrolled into this program because I have a heart to serve the people, especially those in rural areas mainly in the health sector.

This program has trained me on how to manage medicines at the health center level. I have learned how to order medicines from central medical stores, how to provide good storage conditions to maximize the shelf life of the medicines, and how to control use of these medicines. This program has also given us…

Story: Violet Zamasonya, PA Program Graduate

A student essay by a graduate of the Pharmacy Assistant Training Program

The Immunization Supply Chain

This infographic shows the benefits and differences between a multi-tiered supply chain system and a streamlined approach based on VillageReach design, implementation and results of the Dedicated Logistics System in Mozambique, delivering a 17% cost savings and increased efficiencies across the supply chain.

Story: Anstey HSA Kwitanda

A profile of Anstey, a community health worker in Kwitanda, Malawi.

Life Before the DLS: Antonio

“I am more present in the health unit since DLS started. Because I don’t have to travel to the District Sede do collect vaccines, through the DLS, the vaccines are delivered here. And now, we have vaccines available every day. I have more time to do my job, see the patients, organize data, etc. Before, I used to do at least 2 to 3 trips in a month to collect vaccines.”

Life Before the DLS: Emilia

Interview with: Emilia Albino Chilaule, Técnica de Medicina Preventiva, Centro de Saúde de Alto Changane, Distrito de Chibuto – A health worker who works in a health center served by the DLS.

Fales Story

Fales and her mother expressed their gratitude to Chipatala cha pa Foni for saving Fales’ and her baby’s lives and educating them that early water breaking is a danger sign and requires a visit to the health facility as soon as possible. Fales also said she planned to enroll her baby into CCPF’s tips and reminders service for newborns, as she is sure her baby will benefit, much like she did from the pregnancy tips and reminders service.


Click this link to see the the overview of this project on VillageReach Web Site>IMPACT.

Elina's Story

Elina is a single mother from Mpulula Village in Traditional Authority Msamala in Balaka District. Her home is almost 10 kilometers away from Balaka town. She discovered that she was HIV positive when she was pregnant but wasn’t ready to disclose her status to anyone. She did, however, register for the “tips and reminders” service from Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or “Health Center by Phone,”

Supply Chain Improvement

Click this link to see the full overview of this project via the IMPACT section of VillageReach web site. In 2010, VillageReach launched a national expansion of the DLS, currently serving more than 500 health centers and a population of over 8 million in five provinces.The DLS applies a comprehensive strategy providing: a streamlined distribution process, improved data collection and management through a locally appropriate information management system build on the OpenLMIS platform, and active and ongoing supportive supervision and training.

ODK - Open Data Kit Solutions

VillageReach develops  innovative technologies like ODK solutions, with potential to significantly improve data collection at the last mile.

Kwitanda Community Health Project

Click this link to see the full overview of this project via the IMPACT section of VillageReach web site

Pharmacy Assistant Training Program

The Pharmacy Assistant Training Program in Malawi is contributing to a robust pharmaceutical workforce through the introduction of a two-year certificate-level training program focused on improving medicines management and pharmaceutical practice at the health center level.

mHealth impact Malawi

CCPF – Stories from the Field: Belinda

Belinda Chimwala is a 30 year old mother of four who lives in Madyeratu village in southern Malawi. Belinda lives 5 kilometers away from the nearest hospital with maternity and uses a bicycle to travel there.

Health Center by Phone (CCPF)

Click this link to see the full overview of this project via the IMPACT section of VillageReach web site. Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone, is an mHealth innovation in Malawi designed to increase access to timely and appropriate maternal, neonatal and child health information, advice and care.

Advocacy and Change Management

Click this link to see the full overview of this project via the OUR WORK section of the VillageReach web site.

Private Sector Engagement

Click this link to view the Private Sector Engagement page of our web site, outlining our capabilities and experience under “Our Work.”

Human Resources for Health

This is the overview page on this web site that outlines our experience and capabilities around Human Resources for Health.

Information & Communication Technology

This page on our site provides an overview of our Information and Communications Technology Capabilities.


VillageReach serves as a catalyst to strengthen and improve the performance of health systems. We partner with governments, local communities and other non-governmental organizations to develop, test and implement sustainable solutions that improve health system capacity and efficiency…


Our work increases access to quality health care for 43 million people throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Together with our partners,  we ensure that life-saving vaccines, medicines and other essential health supplies reach the last mile. We empower health workers with tools and resources to improve quality health care. We harness the power of data and technology so that everyone – from patients to policy makers– can make informed decisions that improve health outcomes…


This page hosts our audited financials, tax returns and annual report.

Our Approach

Our Approach
Health System Innovation, Starting at the Last Mile…


Les tous premiers Drones pour transporter les vaccins en Afrique

Dans le souci d’assurer la disponibilité des vaccins dans les milieux les plus difficiles pour atteindre, VillageReach appui le Ministère de la Santé de la RDC pour l’introduction de drones dans la chaîne d’approvisionnement.

C’est ainsi qu’un délégué du Secrétaire Général à la Santé et le Chef de Project Nouvelles Technologies pour la Santé du VillageReach RDC se sont rendus du 16 au 27 février à Mbandaka dans la province de l’Equateur pour :

Rencontrer les autorités politico-administratives, des membres de l’Assemblée Provinciale, les agences du Système des Nations Unies et ONG Internationales, les leaders locaux ainsi que les associations de la société civile pour discuter sur l’implication de chacun dans la mise en œuvre du projet Drone ;
Des séances de travail autour de la collecte des données géo-spéciales des sites retenus pour les vols d’essai avec l’ISP Mbandaka (département de Géographie), l’ONG WWF et CEDEN ;
La présentation officielle du projet sous le haut patronage du Gouverneur de Province ;
La tenue de la première réunion du Groupe de Travail…

La distribution jusqu’au dernier kilomètre

L’équipe de VillageReach a appuyé la DPS Equateur dans la distribution des vaccins et intrants de vaccination jusqu’au dernier kilomètre. Cette distribution s’est déroulée du 18 au 23 mars 2019 dans les 3 ZS ciblées de la province de l’Equateur, à savoir Bolomba, Lolanga-Mampoko et Makanza. Elle s’inscrit dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre de la nouvelle génération de la chaîne d’approvisionnement dans cette province. Cette distribution directe était aussi une occasion pour les champions de la NGCA, qui sont des cadres de la DPS Equateur et des membres des équipes cadres des zones de santé de réaliser des supervisions formatives de qualité des formations sanitaires. Ces champions de la NGCA ont aussi discuté avec les responsables des FOSA sur les défis qu’ils rencontrent et des pistes de solution.

Une appropriation de l’initiative NGCA par la DPS a été très perceptible. En effet, la DPS a mobilisé des ressources évaluées à 21% du budget pour financer la première distribution des vaccins en 2019. Et une forte implication de l’autorité politico-administrative locale appuyant la distribution des vaccins aux…

Projet M-Vaccin en Côte d’Ivoire : des progrès significatifs réalisés

Le projet M-Vaccin qui a comme objectif principal de concevoir et de déployer une application mobile adaptée au contexte du PEV en Côte d’Ivoire, a réalisé des progrès significatifs au cours du premier trimestre de l’année 2019.
Développement de l’Application M-Vaccin
Dans le cadre du développement de l’application (App) M-Vaccin, une réunion a été organisée au début du mois de janvier dans le but de revoir et finaliser les spécifications de l’application par les parties prenantes. Après cette étape, une démo de l’App a été organisée le 19 février en présence des parties prenantes du projet, avant la validation de l’App M-Vaccin qui s’en est suivi au mois de mars 2019.
La collecte des données

La collecte des données pour l’étude de base a démarré au mois de février 2019 dans le district de Duékoué et s’est poursuivi en Mars dans les districts de Touba et Nassian, qui sont trois des 29 districts ciblés pour la mise en œuvre du projet M-Vaccin…

Paroles aux Concepteurs du Système de la NGCA

Les autorités de la DPS, de l’Antenne PEV et des équipes cadres de la zone de santé étaient des acteurs principaux de la conception du système de la NGCA dans les provinces du Tanganyika et Haut-Lomami.  Ecoutons quelques témoignages sélectionnés :

Dr Seti Kitungwa Hubert, Médecin Chef d’Antenne PEV Tanganyika
La province du Tanganyika a plusieurs défis. Les contraintes géographiques et l’insécurité dans certaines parties de la province rendent l’accessibilité difficiles de certaines structures sanitaires, ce qui affecte les activités de la vaccination.  Voilà pourquoi nous espérons qu’au travers de la conception du système de la NGCA, nous allons réussir la mise en œuvre du Plan Mashako et ainsi améliorer notre vaccination de routine.


Dr Clarisse Kasongo Meta, Médecin Chef de Zone de Kamina
La conception du système de la NGCA est venue au point nommé, car ça nous a capacité avec des outils nécessaires afin d’analyser en profondeur les défis de notre système d’approvisionnement et d’y apporter des solutions appropriées. Nous aimerions vraiment que les choses changent pour améliorer…

L’importance d’optimiser la chaîne d’approvisionnement dans la mise en œuvre du Plan Mashako

Le Plan Mashako qui a été élaboré en 2018 a comme objectif global d’augmenter la couverture vaccinale (CV) de 15 points dans les provinces ciblées, dont Tanganyika et Haut-Lomami, en 18 mois. Cependant, cette augmentation de la CV passe par entre autres l’optimisation de la chaîne d’approvisionnement pour assurer la disponibilité des vaccins et des intrants de vaccination :

De bonne qualité
De bonne quantité
En bonne condition
Au bon endroit
Au bon moment
Au bon prix
Gérés par un personnel qualifi…

La conception du Système de la NGCA dans la province du Haut-Lomami

L’atelier de la conception du système de la NGCA pour la province du Haut-Lomami a été organisé du 18 au 23 mars 2019 à Kamina. Ceci après une analyse situationnelle et l’identification des goulots d’étranglements de la chaîne d’approvisionnement de la province. Les acteurs de la DPS, des antennes PEV Kamina et Kabondo-Dianda, les Médecins Chefs des Zones et les représentants de BMGF, PATH, OMS, SANRU, et CARITAS ont pris part à cet atelier de conception de système.

La nouvelle génération de la chaîne d’approvisionnement de la province a été validée par les autorités politico-administratives de la province lors d’une cérémonie officielle présidée par Madame le Gouverneur de la Province a.i du Haut-Lomami, le 25 mars 2019 à Kamina. Cette nouvelle génération de la chaîne d’approvisionnement permettra à la province de réaliser la distribution directe des vaccins et intrants de vaccination, partant des antennes PEV Kamina et Kabondo-Dianda jusqu’au dernier kilomètre dans 9 ZS dès la première année et les 7 autres ZS évaluerons la possibilité d…

La conception du système de la NGCA dans la province du Tanganyika

L’analyse situationnelle de la chaîne d’approvisionnement de la province du Tanganyika a révélé l’existence des nombreux défis aux niveaux de l’antenne PEV, du Bureau Central de la Zone de Santé (BCZS) et des formations sanitaires (FOSA).

C’est dans ce cadre qu’un atelier de conception du système de la NGCA a été organisé du 27 février au 3 mars 2019, à Kalemie, avec comme objectif principal d’assurer une disponibilité constante des vaccins et autres intrants pour augmenter la couverture vaccinale et éviter les ruptures de stocks. Avec la facilitation de VillageReach, les acteurs de la Division Provinciale de la Santé (DPS), de l’Antenne PEV Kalemie, les Médecins Chefs des Zones ainsi que les représentants de BMGF, PATH, OMS ont approfondi la réflexion sur les défis de la chaîne d’approvisionnement de la province avant de concevoir une nouvelle génération de la chaîne d’approvisionnement. La nouvelle génération de la chaîne d’approvisionnement conçue, a été validée par les autorités politico-administratives de la province lors d’une cérémonie officielle présidée…


La mise en place des paramètres de fonctionnement de la Nouvelle Génération de Chaîne d’Approvisionnement (NGCA), est une étape importante que les provinces du Tanganyika et du Haut-Lomami en RDC ont franchi dans la mise en œuvre du Plan Mashako, pour la relance de la vaccination systématique. En effet, avec le financement de la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates (BMGF), VillageReach, une ONG experte dans l’optimisation de la chaîne d’approvisionnement des produits de santé jusqu’au dernier kilomètre est impliquée avec PATH dans l’amélioration de la disponibilité des vaccins et autres intrants dans les deux provinces.

En quoi consiste concrètement la mise en place des paramètres de fonctionnement de la NGCA ? Pourquoi est-il important d’optimiser la chaîne d’approvisionnement dans la mise en œuvre du Plan Mashako? Qui sont les concepteurs de la chaîne d’approvisionnement optimisée ? Et que fait VillageReach dans ce processus et pourquoi ? Telles sont les questions auxquelles ce nouveau numéro d’Echos du Terrain essaie de répondre. Vous y trouverez également l’échos des activités du projet M-Vaccin en Côte…

News from the Last Mile

May 23, 2018
News from the Last Mile

VillageReach Newsletter from May 2018

News from the Last Mile

February 19, 2018
News from the Last Mile (February 2018)

VillageReach Newsletter from February 2018

News from the Last Mile

November 7, 2017
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from October 2017

News from the Last Mile (June 2017)

June 29, 2017
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from June 2017

News from the Last Mile (March 2017)

March 8, 2017
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from March 2017

News from the Last Mile (January 2017)

January 10, 2017
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from January 2017

News from the Last Mile (November 2016)

November 17, 2016
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from November 2016

News from the Last Mile (September 2016)

September 30, 2016
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from September 2016

News from the Last Mile (July 2016)

July 1, 2016
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from July 2016

News from the Last Mile (May 2016)

May 1, 2016
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from May 2016

News from the Last Mile (December 2015)

December 1, 2015
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from December 2015

News from the Last Mile (July 2015)

July 1, 2015
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from July 2015

News from the Last Mile (March 2015)

March 1, 2015
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from March 2015

News from the Last Mile (October 2014)

October 1, 2014
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from October 2014

News from the Last Mile (July 2014)

July 1, 2014
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from July 2014

News from the Last Mile (April 2014)

April 1, 2014
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VillageReach Newsletter from April 2014

News from the Last Mile (December 2013)

December 1, 2013
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from December 2013

News from the Last Mile (July 2013)

July 1, 2013
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from July 2013

News from the Last Mile (April 2013)

April 1, 2013
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VillageReach Newsletter from April 2013

News from the Last Mile (December 2012)

December 1, 2012
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from December 2012

News from the Last Mile (October 2012)

October 1, 2012
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VillageReach Newsletter from October 2012

News from the Last Mile (June 2012)

June 1, 2012
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News from the Last Mile (November 2011)

November 1, 2011
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from November 2011

News from the Last Mile (August 2011)

August 1, 2011
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VillageReach Newsletter from August 2011

News from the Last Mile (May 2010)

May 1, 2010
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from May 2010

News from the Last Mile (December 2009)

December 1, 2009
Quarterly VillageReach Newsletter

VillageReach Newsletter from December 2009

News from the Last Mile (October 2009)

October 1, 2009
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News from the Last Mile (July 2009)

July 1, 2009
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Chipatala cha pa Foni 2019 Evaluation Presentation

Debunking the Digital Divide: How a Free Health and Nutrition Hotline is Helping Bring the Health Center to All Malawians

Testing cargo drones in the Amazon

March 21, 2017
UPDWG Webinars

You are kindly invited to attend the fourth featured webinar of the UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group. For this UPDWG webinar, Patrick Meier of WeRobotics will present his team’s work on UAV delivery of antivenom to remote areas of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. For more background information on the project please check out the WeRobotics blog article on this exciting work.

The economic and operational value of using drones to transport vaccines

July 26, 2016
UPDWG Webinars

For this UPDWG webinar, members of the HERMES Logistics Team will present the results of their modeling study for UAV delivery of vaccines in Mozambique.

UAVs in Supply Chains: Thinking about UAVs as a transport mode

January 3, 2017
UPDWG Webinars

For this UPDWG webinar, Sid Rupani of Llamasoft will present on his team’s modeling work with JSI and the Ifakara Health Institute around cost analysis of transport via UAV and comparisons with existing transport systems.

Perceptions of Using UAVs for Development in Tanzania

October 11, 2016
UPDWG Webinars

For this UPDWG webinar, Marga Eichleay of FHI 360 will present the results of their acceptability study looking at government and community perceptions of UAVs for development work in Tanzania.

Press Release

Press Release: Parliamentarians in Equateur, Democratic Republic of Congo commit to sustainable health financing

17 December 2019
Parliamentarians in Equateur, Democratic Republic of Congo
Commit to Sustainable Health Financing
MBANDAKA, DECEMBER 15, 2019 – In Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo, Parliamentarians have taken bold steps to guarantee the health of the people who elected them. On 5 December 2019, 14 members of Parliament unanimously voted the first ever law on sustainable health financing in Equateur province. This is also the first law passed in the current legislature that started in March 2019. The new law would emphasize domestic resource mobilization to address various health challenges that the province is facing including ensuring vaccines and products are available to address childhood disease and recurrent cholera, measles, Ebola and pneumonia outbreaks.

For Honorable Buka Claude , the President of Equateur Provincial Parliament, “The new law is expected to help meet commitments made during the National Forum on Immunization and Polio eradication on 23 July 2019 under the leadership of Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the President of Democratic Republic of Congo. … My colleague Parliamentarians and I are very concerned about child mortality and recurrent outbreaks. This is what motivated us to pass the Edict to enable the Provincial Government to mobilize and allocate more resources in…

Press Release: Bvudzai Magadzire Announced as New Obama Foundation Leader


July 1, 2019

Contact: Kat Tillman, Senior Manager, Communications –

Bvudzai Magadzire Announced as New Obama Foundation African Leader

Seattle — Today, Bvudzai Magadzire announced that she is among its second cohort of Obama Foundation African Leaders, 200 rising leaders from 45 countries around the continent who will convene in Johannesburg July 10-14 and participate in a year-long leadership development program.

Bvudzai leads the regional research and advocacy agenda for VillageReach’s work in improving health outcomes in select African countries.

The Leaders: Africa gathering will include plenary sessions, skill-building workshops, leadership development training, service projects and opportunities for connection among leaders across sectors and geographies. Through such sessions, Leaders will grapple with ethical dilemmas and work on creative, values-driven approaches to problem solving. They will also explore how their personal narratives can be used to support and enhance their leadership. When participants return to their communities, virtual programming will continue for a year through a speaker series, technical trainings, educational workshops, action plan guidance, and support and amplification from the Foundation.

“The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program builds on the success of the 2018 inaugural class, bringing together a committed…

Press Release: VillageReach transitions Kwitanda Community Health Project to MaiKhanda Trust

30th March 2019
VillageReach transitions Kwitanda Community Health Project to MaiKhanda Trust
VillageReach and MaiKhanda Trust today announced that MaiKhanda will assume responsibility for the Kwitanda Community Health Project (KCHP) in the Balaka district of Malawi. MaiKhanda’s community-based approach to health care will sustain and build on the progress achieved in maternal and child health begun by VillageReach, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Kwitanda community, and JBJ Foundation in 2008.

Impressive strides have been made in health in Kwitanda thanks to KCHP. Nearly 96% of women in the community now deliver their babies in a health facility[1] compared to 91% of women in rural areas nationally.[2]  Kwitanda has also become known for the high percentage of women who attend four antenatal visits—nearly 76% of women in Kwitanda attend four visits [1] while only 49% attend four visits in rural areas nationally. [2] 

VillageReach conducted a household study in 2017—2018 that highlighted additional achievements in Kwitanda. The study, which explored health issues facing women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years-old) and children under five years, collected data from 414 women and 375 children. Notably, Kwitanda residents displayed much higher treatment…

President Transition

August 24, 2017- Seattle, WA- VillageReach announced today that Evan Simpson has tendered his resignation as President of VillageReach. The Board has appointed Vice President, Emily Bancroft, to the role of Acting President. Emily has been with VillageReach for over seven years, serving in the role of Vice President since 2015. Simpson will remain with the organization until September 1 to support the transition process.

“VillageReach is an exceptional organization. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented, passionate team of global health professionals who are at the forefront of last mile health innovation,” said Simpson.  “I know the organization will continue to grow and thrive, and I look forward to seeing that progress.”

The Board of Directors will lead the recruitment process, with a leadership transition expected in the coming year.

“Evan made significant contributions to further the mission of VillageReach, driving the organization forward in many ways during a significant phase of growth,” says Rick Fant, VillageReach Board Chair.  “We are very confident in Emily Bancroft as Acting President and her ability to effectively manage the organization through this period of transition and continued growth. Emily is a proven leader whose…

Press Release: VillageReach Names Evan Simpson President

Press Release
VillageReach Names Evan Simpson President
PATH leader hired to head Seattle-based global health innovator

VillageReach, the Seattle-based global health non-profit that increases access to quality healthcare for underserved communities, has announced that Evan Simpson will join VillageReach as President effective July 5, 2016.  Simpson was most recently interim Country Program Director for PATH India.

“We are very excited to welcome Evan to VillageReach. Throughout his career, he has proven himself as a compelling, effective and engaged global health leader, and is the right executive catalyst to continue the momentum of the organization and to manage VillageReach’s growth and evolution,” said Rick Fant, Board Chair.

Simpson has worked in global health for more than 15 years. Most of his career has been spent at PATH where he managed a diverse portfolio of projects and teams across program areas, with an emphasis in diarrheal disease and vaccine initiatives. He has extensive experience in the field across Africa and Asia driving a wide range of health initiatives including vaccine introduction, community-led campaigns and management, clinical trials, product development and market research. In 2015, Evan became the Co-Chair of PATH’s Research Ethics Committee, before taking…

Press Release: President Allen Wilcox to Attend World Economic Forum

Press Release
VillageReach President to Attend World Economic Forum
Allen D. Wilcox heads to Davos with Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
SEATTLE, Washington, January 15, 2016 – VillageReach President Allen Wilcox will attend the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland January 20th-23rd convening the foremost political, business and societal leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Wilcox will attend as a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur, joining a delegation of twenty-four other Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs, distinguished leaders of for-profit and non-profit organizations advancing the field of social innovation.

Wilcox was selected as a Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 based on VillageReach’s business model and development of proven health system innovations that address key barriers to quality healthcare for low-resource communities.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Forum as a representative of VillageReach and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs. As social entrepreneurs, each of us brings a slightly different perspective to global economic development be it global health, agriculture, education or other social impact practices, and having access to share our ideas with this audience is quite remarkable,” says Wilcox.

Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs are fully…

Press Release: First Class of Pharmacy Assistants Graduate

Press Release: New Pharmacy Assistants Graduate in Malawi, Improving Patient Care at Critically Understaffed Rural Health Centers> Malawi College of Health Sciences, VillageReach, University of Washington and the Malawi Ministry of Health Collaborate on an Innovative Program.

Press Release: Nexmo and CCPF

Press Release
Nexmo and VillageReach Provide Aide to Young Women and Expecting Mothers in Malawi via SMS Text and Voice
Health Center by Phone the First to Connect Health Workers with Patients via Combined Text and Voice

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Nexmo, the leading cloud communications company, today announced a collaboration with VillageReach, a Seattle-based non-profit global health innovator, that developed the first comprehensive health center by phone for expecting mothers in Malawi. VillageReach teamed up with Nexmo to make Chitpatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone, a hospital-based case management hotline and mobile message service that provide critical prenatal and childbirth information, available to mothers in remote areas.

Malawi has one of the highest rates of maternal, child, and infant mortality in the world, and simply knowing when to seek professional care and reaching the location of those resources can substantially reduce maternal and child mortality rates. A lack of healthcare professionals combined with the distance between health centers and the most rural communities often prevents women from accessing essential information and services. This results in women either neglecting needed care, or traveling substantial distances only to be told their symptoms…

2013 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award

February 4, 2013

PRESS RELASE: SEATTLE (February 4, 2013) —The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the winner of the second Gates Vaccine Innovation Award.

2014 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year

March 24, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Seattle, WA, March 24th – VillageReach, the Seattle-based social enterprise that increases access to quality healthcare for the most underserved communities, today announced President Allen Wilcox has been has been selected as a 2014 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship,

ODK Grant Announcement

October 10, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: October, 2014- VillageReach to partner with University of Washington to transform paper data into a scalable digital system through ODK Scan.

Final 20 Expansion Grant

October 15, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: November 3, 2014 VillageReach Receives $1.8 Million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation To Expand Vaccine Delivery Initiative

News & Press

Press Releases and News Featuring VillageReach
For press inquiries, please contact

Press Release – June 26, 2020 WGHA announces VillageReach as a winner of the 2020 Pioneers of Global Health Awards for Outstanding Organization. Read the press release.

Drone Life – June 25, 2020 An opinion piece c0-authored by a VillageReach staff  member about the considerations behind using drones in the COVID-19 response was published by Drone Life. Read the article.

Malawi Government – February 28, 2020 VillageReach and the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population were recognized by His Excellency Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi. Chipatala cha pa Foni was recognized as a Driver of Transformative Initiatives in Malawi.

Card Rates News – January 27, 2020 VillageReach was featured on, including an interview with president Emily Bancroft. Read the article. 
Press Release – December 17, 2019 In Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo, Parliamentarians have taken bold steps to commit to sustainable health financing. Read the press release.

Announcement – December 10, 2019 VillageReach announces new board members. Read the announcement.

Skoll Foundation Spotlight – November 21, 2019 Program manager Upile Kachila reflects on some of the biggest lessons learned from the CCPF transition to government. Read…

Project Summaries

Drones for Health

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.

OpenLMIS - GAP Project Success Story

OpenLMIS GAP Project Success Story

OpenLMIS believes in an open source software development philosophy of ‘shared investment, and shared benefit ’ whereby our community of global users are linked through a core code base, and enhancements made by one country can be accessed and used by anyone in the community. To achieve this vision, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Digital Square funded the GAP Project, a 1 year initiative to unify the OpenLMIS codebase.

Improving Last Mile Supply Chains for Women in Nigeria

With funding from MSD Mothers and support from in-country partner, CHAI, VillageReach is working with the Government of Nigeria to adopt a holistic system design approach to delivering maternal and reproductive health commodities. Phase 1, currently underway, includes a supply chain review and bottleneck analysis, resource mapping and supply chain costing, analysis of private sector opportunities and stakeholder engagement. When these activties are complete, we will work with state governments in to develop a plan that best serves Kano and Cross River states as they build the necessary resources and capacity for strengthening their maternal and reproductive health supply chains…

Lab Sample Taxi

The Ride-sharing for sample transport program (aka “Sample Taxi” or “AmosTaxi”) combines technology and process improvement to match sample transport needs with sample transport availability. This project creates a dispatch center through which sample transportation in Sofala Province is coordinated among a network of existing providers, with samples tracked from collection to delivery…

Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s (ONSE) Health in Malawi (ONSE)

ONSE is a maternal and child health systems strengthening program in Malawi aimed at reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality through a wide range of activities including improving access to better nutrition, family planning/reproductive health, malaria, and (WASH); improving the quality of these services through district level health system strengthening, and increasing demand for the services. The program incorporates a consortium of partners. VillageReach is responsible for supply chain strengthening activities from the district to the health centers to the village clinics. Key activities include rolling out the mobile health hotline CCPF nationwide with key mobilization activities in the 16 ONSE districts; expanding the use of pharmacy assistants as mentors to cluster facilities; providing oversight and capacity building for supply chain activities at the health centers; and improving health center and district’s ability to turn in timely and accurate commodity data reports…

Bull City CCE Training

Using human-centered design principles, VillageReach is working with partners to design, develop, and deploy an easy to use and interactive digital refrigerator maintenance and repair manual for cold chain technicians in Malawi…

UAV Sample Transport

Through work with several partners and donors, the UAS program explores the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to support health systems (e.g. medical commodity distribution, lab sample transport, data collection). The proof of concept in Malawi will investigate the quality of blood and oxytocin samples flown by UAV; the costs and benefits; safety concerns as well as community and stakeholder perceptions related to UAV utilization for transportation of blood and other health commodities; and will result in the development a long-term business case for the integration of UAVs into the medical transport system…


In partnership with PSM, VillageReach implemented OpenLMIS at national scale in Malawi in 2017. In Malawi, OpenLMIS serves all districts and over 650 facilities across six programs. In collaboration with PSM, VillageReach continues to support this implementation with technical assistance and user support from the district level up to national level…

DREAMS - CCPF for Adolescents

CCPF for Adolescents, is a two-year program that will expand Airtel Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), or “Health Center by Phone,” an existing mobile-based health hotline and message service in Malawi. VillageReach will partner with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) to reach adolescent girls and young women by targeting Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) behaviors, care-seeking, and social norms in order to reduce HIV incidence and increase secondary school retention – a key contributing factor of new HIV infections…

Cote d’Ivoire M-Vaccin Project

mHealth program aims to improve health care delivery services and outcomes by leveraging on the increasing penetration of mobile phones to the most rural areas in low and middle income countries.
Specifically, Cote d’Ivoire M-Vaccin project, which results from a partnership between Gavi, Orange and Cote d’Ivoire Ministry of Health, will develop and deploy in the 29 most underperforming health districts a customized mobile application that intends to reduce dropout rates, improve demand generation and data quality…

Optimizing Pakistan's Immunization Supply Chain

UNICEF Pakistan, in partnership with Pakistan’s federal and provincial EPI programmes and Gavi, has engaged VillageReach to identify opportunities for improving Pakistan’s vaccine supply chain. During the next year, VillageReach will work with Llamasoft to build a full country model of Pakistan’s current EPI supply chain, support stakeholders in determing how bes to improve the supply chain based on modelling results, and draft a roadmap for supply chain improvement…

Project Izizi

Project Izizi, funded through the ASRH Grand Challenges (ASRHGC) Program aims to generate primary evidence about adolescent-specific needs, preferences, and behavior related to modern contraceptives through an innovative, dynamic and youth-driven approach across Malawi’s three regions (Northern, Central and Southern…

Visibility Analytics Network

Under CHAI, VillageReach provided support for the Visibility Analytics Network (VAN) in Nigeria. This work included conducting a landscape study of the electronic tools used in the vaccine supply chain, developing a technology governance framework for evaluating and approving tools, and building stakeholder buy-in for the VAN technology governance framework…

Vaccine Information Management System

VillageReach was contracted by CHAI to provide technical support for VIMS, the logistics management information system used in Tanzania for vaccine commodities. This work included gather LMIS requirements, performing design and testing work, and building a cold chain equipment module and a stock management module into the VIMS system…

OpenLMIS (eLMIS) Tanzania

VillageReach collaborated with ministries of health in Tanzania and Zambia to develop shared requirements for a new electonic logistics management information system (LMIS), laying the groundwork for OpenLMIS, an open source, enterprise-level electronic LMIS, leading to partner implementations at a national scale in these countries.  In late 2013 OpenLMIS was implemented in Tanzania by John Snow, Inc (JSI) through the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT under the local name of eLMIS. The system operatives in over 6,000 service delivery points and supports requisitioning supplies for all programs including malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, lab commodities, essential medicines, and vaccines…

OpenLMIS (eSIGL) Cote d'Ivorie

John Snow Inc. (JSI) through the MEASURE Evaluation project currently implements OpenLMIS (developed in partnership with VillageReach) in Côte d’Ivoire in 50 facilities that are clients of the Central Medical Store (NPSP). Locally called eSIGL, OpenLMIS supports requisition processes for several programs including malaria, HIV, lab commodities, essential medicines, and reproductive health medicines. These 50 facilities are using the system on a regular basis to order and report on commodity usage and to provide key stakeholders real time access to available data. Currently, eSIGL is in the process of scaling from the initial 50 facilities to a total of 318 throughout the country…

DREAMS Innovation: CCPF for Adolescents

VillageReach’s DREAMS Program, CCPF for Adolescents, aims to improve adolescent girls and young women’s access to age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information, services and commodities. The program will strengthen VillageReach’s existing program, Chipatala cha pa Foni – Health Center by Phone, as a youth-friendly health service (YFHS) and broaden the influence of the Pharmacy Assistant Training Program to help build local facility-based youth friendly health services and supply chain management capacity…

Global Health Supply Chain Program

VillageReach is an implementer of the USAID-funded Global Health Supply Chain Technical Assistance (GHSC-TA) program in Tanzania with a consortium of partners including PwC, John Snow, Inc. and Abt Associates. GHSC-TA, launched in June 2016,  provides technical assistance to the Government of Tanzania to strengthen their public health supply chains. In support of this program, VillageReach is working to strengthen the logistics management information system through eLMIS (Tanzania’s implementation of OpenLMIS), improve data quality and data use, and incorporate the last mile perspective into all project initiatives…

Supply Chain Assessment

In June 2016, VillageReach was invited by the Togo Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MSPS) as part of a delegation of global health supply chain experts to help define and inform strategies for strengthening the national supply chain (SNAP), inclusive of all health commodities (vaccines and essential medicines). VillageReach provided technical assistance and recommendations on overall system design and other interventions to be considered in order to ensure a more effective and efficient supply chain. The delegation, including the William Davidson Institute and the African Resource Center (ARC) was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…


VillageReach is a partner on the USAID | DELIVER Project, a global project to increase the availability of health supplies to clients and customers. Past and present activities include: last mile supply chain assessment and intervention design across multiple countries, management of ILS Gateway – an open-source SMS system track stock levels of 20 essential medicines and reproductive health commodities in Tanzania, and a pilot supply chain intervention for community health workers in Mozambique to improve supply availability of reproductive health and malaria commodities…

Supply Chain Assessment, Modeling and System Design

As part of the Acclerating Next-Generation iSC Program, VillageReach is partnering with CIDRZ to conduct modeling exercises and identify opportunities for improvement in commodity availability and immunization supply chain optimization. This modeling work will inform the development of an implementation plan that will be applied to strengthening the immunization supply chain in Zambia…

Transport Services Solution

VillageReach, alongside the provincial government, introduced the Transport Services Solution, which uses a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to distribute vaccines and additional commodities from the province to rural health facilities in Tete Province. A further partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) supported the integration of family planning and antiretroviral commodities into this system in addition to vaccines…

UAV Costing Study

VillageReach worked with UNICEF and Matternet in Malawi to test the concept of using UAVs for moving laboratory samples, specifically samples for diagnosing HIV in infants, between health facilities and labs. VillageReach conducted a costing analysis to compare moving samples by UAVs to moving samples by motorcycles…

UAV Supply Chain Modeling

VillageReach and the HERMES Modeling Team conducted a simulated supply chain modeling exercise to compare the costs of distributing vaccines out to health facilities by UAV to the common system used for transporting vaccines in low-resource countries. The results of this analysis are published in the journal Vaccine…

OpenLMIS (eLMIS) Zanzibar

In October 2014, John Snow Inc. (JSI) through the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT successfully deployed OpenLMIS (developed in partnership with VillageReach) in Zanzibar as a pilot under the local name eLMIS. By February 2015, the system went live in all districts, and the sensitization training for all management teams was completed in June 2015. Currently the system is running successfully in all facilities in Chakechake District. Orders and shipments of health commodities are integrated between eLMIS and mSupply, the warehouse management system at the Central Medical Store…

HMIS/LMIS Integrated Dashboard Pilot

As a member of the Supply Chain Technical Resource Team of the UN Commission for Life Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC) for Women & Children, VillageReach is coordinated and supported the implementation of HMIS/LMIS Integrated Dashboard Pilots in Senegal and Tanzania in partnership with Dimagi, JSI, University of Oslo,  University of Dar es Salaam, and HISP West Africa. The primary objective of this project is to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of centralizing data from HMIS (DHIS2) and LMIS (CommCare Supply in Senegal and OpenLMIS in Tanzania) into a single platform. The goal of HMIS/LMIS dataset unification is to facilitate in-country decision making and improve supply chain efficiency and performance…

Assessment of Logistics Management Information System

In collaboration with Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS), VillageReach conducted a targeted assessment of the current Logistics Management Information Systems for all vertical public health supply chains. This assessment included all levels of the health system, with a focus on the last mile. As an output of this assessment, VillageReach created a process map of the LMIS and provided recommendations for information systems strengthening to in-country stakeholders…

UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group

VillageReach is a leader in the UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group (UPDWG), made up of organizations, funders, and producers invested in the development, advancement, and application of UAV in public health and supply chain systems. UPDWG serves as an informal, centralized mechanism to share information; coordinate efforts; connect with partners and manufacturers; and access document resources related to UAV for payload delivery…

Supply Chain Assessment, Modeling and System Design

In collaboration with the World Bank, VillageReach conducted an assessment identifying gaps in the supply chain performance in isolated and underserved areas within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As part of the Final 20: Accelerating Next Generation Immunization Supply Chains Program financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, VillageReach will partner with in-country stakeholders to conduct modeling exercises and identify opportunities for improvement in commodity availability and immunization supply chain optimization. This modeling work will inform the development of a ministry- supported and owned implementation plan that will be applied to strengthening the immunization supply chain in the Equateur Province of DRC…

OpenLMIS (eLMIS) Zambia

VillageReach, in partnership with PATH, supported the Ministry of Health and its partners to develop a vision and roadmap for computerized logistics management information systems (LMIS) in Zambia. As a first step, VillageReach helped to facilitate a series of workshops with the ministry, Medical Stores Limited (MSL), and the partners who support the ministry in supply chain strengthening to develop a shared vision and a comprehensive set of user requirements for a future computerized LMIS. Once the Zambia requirements and roadmap were developed and endorsed by the ministry and its partners, VillageReach continued to support the process by assisting the ministry and its partners to move forward on the development and implementation of the LMIS…

OpenLMIS (SIIL) Benin

In early 2015 VillageReach partnered with the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) to pilot Système Informatisé d’Information Logistique (SIIL), an OpenLMIS implementation, in the Comé health region of Benin. The SIIL implementation is part of a larger immunization supply chain improvement project which the Ministry of Health is scaling nationally due to significant improvements in vaccine availability, vaccine quality, data collection compliance as well as data quality during the pilot period. VillageReach is supporting AMP in 2016 on an updated version of SIIL to accommodate the scale-up…

Assessment of Maternal/Neonatal Health Commodities

In partnership with the Touch Foundation, VillageReach conducted observations, key informant interviews, and records reviews to track the flow of key commodities for maternal health. The Assessment was completed in July 2014. VillageReach is currently working to develop recommendations that the Touch Foundation, in conjunction with other partners like Pathfinder, will review and select for implementation to improve any deficiencies within the supply chain. VillageReach will also provide technical assistance during the implementation of these selected interventions.

Integrated Logistics System Assessment

In partnership with the USAID | DELIVER Project, VillageReach participated in an assessment of the Integrated Logistics System’s performance at the service delivery point. Using secondary data available through Report & Requisition forms, the team sampled 25 percent of the health facilities in each district to identify overall ILS performance as well as high and low performing districts for follow up by the Pharmaceutical Services Unit at the ministry of health. The ministry used the methodology to conduct periodic assessments of ILS performance…

HIV/AIDS Supply Chain Assessment

VillageReach engaged in an assessment of the last mile logistics system in Umkhanyakude in KwaZulu Natal province. The purpose of the assessment was to design a last mile logistics and information system that would strengthen the existing HIV/AIDS supply chain and health information system. As a result of the assessment work, VillageReach provided technical recommendations to streamline data collection and supportive supervision techniques to improve health sector performance at the service delivery level…

Optimize Demonstration Project

VillageReach partnered with Project Optimize, a joint project between WHO and PATH, to provide recommendations on the design and implementation of a last mile distribution system for vaccines in rural Senegal. VillageReach conducted the initial assessment to design the proposed system based on the DLS concept then and provided technical assistance to Project Optimize to prepare for the implementation of the system, training of staff and information system integration…

PVSD Telemetry Solution

VillageReach supports Intellectual Ventures in identifying and qualifying opportunities to improve health system performance for base of the pyramid countries.  Engagements include: creating an automated dashboard monitoring system for the Arktek passive vaccine storage device; conducting a landscape analysis of machine to machine (M2M) technologies, systems and business ventures to improve data reporting from field operations (health centers) to health system administrators, and developing the investment case to improve vaccine cold chain performance leveraging the private sector.
VillageReach developed the automated information monitoring system for Intellectual Ventures’ passive vaccine storage device  tested in Senegal and Ethiopia…

Third Party Logistics Assessment and Model Development

VillageReach partnered with MIT-Zaragoza Logistics Center, Transaid, and DFID to develop a model for evaluating the potential, costs, and benefits of using third party logistics (3PL) providers and implement the model in a drug revolving fund for essential medicines with recommendations for a 3PL implementation approach…

Global Fund Assessment

VillageReach performed a six-month consultancy to define, conduct and report on a detailed assessment of the ability of public and private health distribution channels throughout Nigeria to support a large-scale anti-malaria program, design transport and distribution systems, and provide limited technical assistance to implement recommendations.

Evaluation of Health System Transport Capacity and Demand

VillageReach examined current conditions of transport fleets and logistics practices managed by the Mozambique Ministry of Health (MISAU), evaluating the health system’s transport ability to fulfill its goals, and through a comprehensive evaluation, offered considerations on the unique business environment and practices of private transport operators in Mozambique in order to suggest conditions under which private sector transporters could support MISAU’s freight transport and distribution requirements…

Supply Chain Modeling: HERMES

VillageReach is working collaboratively with representatives from both national and provincial levels of Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and the HERMES Logistics Team to learn about the HERMES modeling tool (Highly Extensible Resource for Modeling Supply Chains).  HERMES is a new solution that could have far reaching impact on the vaccine supply chain, allowing decision makers to simulate different outcomes depending on changing variables in order to find efficiencies…

OpenLMIS (SELV) Mozambique

Translated in Portuguese: “Sistema Electronica de Logistica de Vacinas” (SELV) is a version of OpenLMIS configured to support the District Logistics Capacity Study in Mozambique. SELV is replacing vrMIS, the first logistics management software VillageReach implemented in Mozambique. The functionality of SELV is very similar to vrMIS; however it includes enhanced reporting capabilities, and the ability to collect data on a tablet. Data collected includes information on the vaccine stock that is delivered to each health facility, and how many vaccines are given to children.

HIV Logistics Assessment

The Clinical HIV/AIDS Services Strengthening (CHASS-SMT) project, a USAID-funded health systems strengthening and HIV care and treatment project in Mozambique, engaged VillageReach to conduct an assessment of logistics management systems for health in Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces, and propose a plan for strengthening logistics management for the health commodities in these provinces. The work involved proposing a range of interventions to address logistics system problems in the short, medium, and long term…

District Logistics Capacity Study

VillageReach conducted a study to evaluate the logistics capacity available at the district level and to identify priority areas for capacity building in order to carry out effective and efficient health logistics operations. The study was used by the Ministry of Health and partners to improve logistics and inform future policy…

Rapid Diagnostic Test Consumption Study

VillageReach supported the integrated Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) into the Dedicated Logistics System (DLS) in Cabo Delgado Province. In response to challenges encountered during the integration process, VillageReach designed and conducted an RDT consumption study to estimate stock shortages of RDTs, to identify factors and predictors of these shortages, and to identify distribution systems characteristics and performance affecting these shortages. The study formed the basis for decisions by the ministry of health regarding ongoing integration of RDTs and other products…

Cold Chain Program: Optimized Placement, Monitoring and Maintenance of Cold Chain Equipment.

VillageReach has lead the introduction of a remote temperature monitoring device,  ColdTrace, installed in more than 100 health facilities, which monitors vaccine refrigerator temperatures on a continuous basis, drives action through SMS alerts, and transmits the data to an online dashboard. This data is used to improve cold chain uptime and guide maintenance plans for the country…


Vodacom engaged VillageReach to conduct the first test of its vaccination mobile application which seeks to improve child vaccination rates and vaccine stock management. VillageReach is testing a mobile application to create a child registry of vaccination data and health center stock data to project future demand and improve forecasting for supply chain managers.  Partners in the project include the GAVI Alliance, GlaxoSmithKline, and Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab…


In response to a critical lack of fuel to support the cold chain in Mozambique, VillageReach and Fundacao para o Desenvolvimento da Comunidade (FDC) established VidaGas, a Mozambique for-profit propane distribution company. While the business was established initially to supply remote health centers, the company has increased its scale to take advantage of additional markets. Today VidaGas is not only profitable, but the largest propane distributor in northern Mozambique, shipping to health centers, residences, businesses and government agencies in four provinces…

Supply Chain Assessment, Modeling and System Design

In 2010, in partnership with the provincial governments and the central Ministry of Health, VillageReach launched a national expansion project to roll out the Dedicated Logistics Systems (DLS), a new approach to supply chain system design aimed at increasing vaccination coverage rates, reducing monthly stock outs of medical commodities, increasing health worker productivity and capacity, improving cost-efficiency, and improving the overall quality of health services available at the last mile. The DLS introduced new efficiencies to Mozambique’s vaccine supply chain resulting in significant increases in fully vaccinated children, dramatic reduction in stock-outs, and reduced costs. With additional support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the DLS is now the cornerstone of the Accelerating Next-Generation iSC Program, an effort to encourage new models of vaccine supply chain system design in Mozambique and globally in order to reach the final 20% of children who currently do not have access to life-saving vaccines…

D-tree Mobile Data Collection Field Test

VillageReach partnered with D-Tree International in the Kwitanda Health Center catchment population of Balaka, District Malawi to implement an integrated CCM/CBMNH application including training Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) and the development of a joint requirements document for the integration of the CCM/CBMNH application with VillageReach’s Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) system…

UNICEF Supply Chain Assessments

VillageReach is assessing the availability of essential medicines at randomly selected facilities throughout Malawi as part of UNICEF’s evaluation of the supply chain.

Medicines for Malaria Venture SMS Project

VillageReach worked to develop and implement an SMS to Internet data system to track the distribution of malaria drugs from private and public dispensaries. The system allowed for monitoring the type, amount and price of various malaria drugs distributed in a remote region of Malawi from any Internet-connected computer…

Electrochlorinator Field Testing

VillageReach conducted field tests of a device developed by Cascade Designs and PATH that produces a chlorine solution from salt water. The device provides an on-site solution to address gaps in chlorine availability and provide the chlorine needed for health facility sanitation and water purification.

Kwitanda Community Health Program

Since 2008, VillageReach has led a program to increase the reach of health services at the community and health center levels by building capacity of community health workers, implementing cost-effective interventions to reduce malaria and diarrheal diseases in children under 5, and improving maternal and neonatal health through community-based interventions.

Chipatala cha pa Foni: Health Center by Phone

VillageReach developed and operates Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), a mobile-based health hotline in Malawi that aims to increase access to health information, advice and care over the phone.  Using a simple shortcode, users are connected to a hotline staffed by qualified health care practitioners to consult on a wide range of health information and provide referral services when needed. Users can also opt for personalized voice and SMS health messages tailored to women regarding their pregnancy or the health needs of their children. Operating since 2011, CCPF was first developed in partnership with Concern Worldwide and VillageReach as a resource for maternal and child health information specifically targeting rural and remote communities. The service has expanded to reach multiple districts and serves all demographics and a growing range of health topics. VillageReach is working with the Malawi Ministry of Health on a plan to fully transition program operations and scale up nationally…

Pharmacy Assistant Training Program

In 2012, VillageReach began a three-year initiative to train and deploy a new cadre of  facility-based pharmacy staff to improve data management, decrease logistics burden on clinical staff and improve quality of care. The first cadre of students graduated in 2015.  Graduates are employed by the Ministry of Health to work in health centers in rural areas. Since 2016, VillageReach has transitioned to technical support for this initiative, passing ownership to the Ministry of Health and Malawi College of Health Sciences, while remaining active partners to help the Ministry reach its goal of training and placing a Pharmacy Assistant in every health center nationally – around 650 locations.  Initiative partners include the Malawi Ministry of Health, the Malawi College of Health Sciences, the University of Washington Global Medicines Program, and USAID | DELIVER…

mHealth Roadmap: Architecture and Design

In collaboration with Columbia University, PATH, and Vital Wave Consulting, VillageReach supported the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to develop a roadmap and set of requirements for a national information system to support the work of community health workers in Ethiopia. The original technical design workshops, facilitated using the collaborative requirements development methodology (CRDM), will lead to a national set of requirements that can be used by the ministry to evaluate and design comprehensive solutions that meet the needs of the primary healthcare system…

UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children

VillageReach is a leading member of the Supply and Local Markets Technical Reference Group of the commission. VillageReach is supporting the documentation and dissemination of supply chain best practices for UN Commission focus countries and donors interested in strengthening in-country supply chains…

Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceutical Services (SIAPS)

SIAPS is a USAID-funded program to improve access to pharmaceuticals. VillageReach’s role is to support Management Sciences for Health in an ongoing development effort to make the case for decreasing the burden of pharmaceutical and supply chain data collection in frontline health workers and increasing the focus on the key data points needed for decision-making.

People that Deliver

People that Deliver is a global partnership whose mission is to build global and national capacity to implement evidence-based approaches to plan, finance, develop, support and retain the national workforces needed for the effective, efficient and sustainable management of health supply chains. VillageReach is a member of the Advocacy & Knowledge Management and Research Working Groups, helping to promote the need for qualified supply chain professionals in public health systems and ensure that resources and best practices are shared across countries.

ODK Scan

VillageReach and the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering Department developed ODK Scan, an Android-based mobile phone application that uses computer vision to digitize and process data from paper forms. The application was designed to transform traditional paper-based collection by significantly lowering time and cost for data capture and increase reliability of data from the last mile to enable critical decision making by stakeholders at all levels in healthcare delivery.  VillageReach conducted field trials of ODK Scan in Mozambique, Malawi and Pakistan.  VillageReach provided critical analysis of ODK Scan based on field trial data and recommendations for future application of the technology.  Contributing partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the USAID|DELIVER Project, and Mercy Corps…


OpenLMIS is a software platform specifically designed to manage health commodity supply chains in low-resource environments. VillageReach pioneered the concept of an open source electronic logistics management information system (LMIS) for vaccine supply chains, with an initial field implementation in Mozambique in 2010. VillageReach built on this experience to collaborate with ministries of health in Tanzania and Zambia to develop shared requirements for a new logistics management information system, laying the groundwork for a national scale implementation of OpenLMIS and national scale implementations in these countries.  Since the initial concept was developed, VillageReach has played a leading role in the evolution of the OpenLMIS platform, which has now become multi-country, multi-donor, multi-implementer-driven open source community. The initiative is committed to shared learning and shared benefit, with the goal of continually improving the performance of health supply chains in low-and-middle-income-countries (LMICs) through improved data visibility and utilization. OpenLMIS has been implemented in six geographies: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zanzibar…

Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance Working Groups

VillageReach is an active member of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Working Groups, whose members have contributed significantly to GAVI’s five year strategic plan, released in 2014.  As a member of these groups, VillageReach has helped inform the system design and system optimization component of this strategy and provided insight and direction on data for management trends, technologies, and Key Performance Indicators…

Final 20 Project: Accelerating Next-Generation Immunization Supply Chains

Through support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, VillageReach is working globally to encourage new models of vaccine supply chain system design in order to reach the final 20% of children who currently do not have access to life-saving vaccines.  In partnership with ministries of health, UNICEF, and other global, regional, and local partners, the Final 20 Project: Accelerating Next-Generation iSC improves vaccine availability, potency, and cost efficiency by scaling, seeding, and enabling transitions to next-generation iSC across Gavi countries…


VillageReach is a partner on the USAID | DELIVER Project, a global project to increase the availability of health supplies to clients and customers. Past and present activities include: last mile supply chain assessment and intervention design across multiple countries, management of ILS Gateway – an open-source SMS system track stock levels of 20 essential medicines and reproductive health commodities in Tanzania, and a pilot supply chain intervention for community health workers in Mozambique to improve supply availability of reproductive health and malaria commodities.


From Opportunities to Achievements in 2018

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.

As VillageReach delivers on its promise of quality health care for low-resource communities, we value your ongoing support. I look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2019.
With gratitude,
Emily Bancroft…

Pharmacy Assistant Training Program Overview

The Pharmacy Assistant (PA) Training Program in Malawi is contributing to a robust pharmaceutical workforce through the introduction of a two-year certificate-level training program focused on improving medicines management and pharmaceutical practice in health centers.

Increasing Access to Health Products in the DRC

September 27, 2018
Increasing Access to Health Products in the DRC

This document focuses on creating a more efficient, effective and resilient supply chain with the Next Generation Supply Chain Initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It summarizes the five pillars of transformation, the benefits to the health system, and considerations for scaling or adapting the initiative within and beyond Equateur Province.

CCPF Case study by UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy

July 31, 2017
CCPF Case study by UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy

CCPF was a selected case study through the UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy: Improved Livelihoods in a Digital World. This case study is part of a series highlighting how inclusive digital solutions can help people with low skills or low literacy levels use technology in ways that support skills development and, ultimately, improve livelihoods – in contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on education. For more information

Informed Design: How Modeling Can Provide Insights to Improve Vaccines Supply Chains

Modeling contributes to supply chain improvements by helping define the best solutions to critical supply chain barriers. Models must be adapted to a specific context but, done correctly, provide evidence for the feasibility and impact of potential changes to a supply chain.

Finding Efficiencies in Zambia's Immunisation Supply Chain

September 1, 2017

Vaccines are at the core of Zambia’s efforts to prevent childhood death and illness and move towards prevention rather than treatment of disease. This piece provides an overview of Zambia’s Immunisation Supply Chain and the results of a recent modelling exercise.

Open Source Solutions for Data Management: A Comparison Guide

An overview of several open source data management solutions, explaining the benefits of open source and the similarities and differences between these tools.

Le programme Med25 : Financer des soins de qualité par le biais d’une entreprise à vocation sociale

Le programme Med25 de VillageReach aide les communautés a développer des entreprises génératrices de revenus dont les bénéfices subventionnent la prestation de soins de santé. Ce modèle accroît efficacement l’accès aux soins de santé de qualité dans les communautés rurales isolées sans créer une dépendance à long terme vis-à-vis d’une aide internationale. Le nom Med25 provient de l’Article 25 de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme qui proclame que toute personne a droit à un niveau de vie suffisant pour assurer sa santé et son bien-être.

Med25: Funding Quality Health Care through Social Enterprise

VillageReach’s Med25 program helps communities develop income-generating businesses that support health care through their profits. This model effectively increases access to quality health care in remote and rural communities without long-term dependence on international aid. The Med25 name is derived from Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being.

Outsourcing Transport to Improve Health at the Last Mile: A Case Study

December 15, 2016

This case study summarizes the finding from an assessment of the Transport Services Solution (TSS) in Tete province, Mozambique. The case study looks at the specific opportunity for outsourcing and the process that was undertaken to establish this outsourced system. Finally, the case study outlines next steps and considerations for government authorities interested in outsourcing as a way to improve transport for vaccines and other essential medicines.

French          Portuguese

Le rôle de la conception des systèmes pour le renforcement des chaînes d’approvisionnement des vaccins (CAV) : Experience Du Mozambique (français)

Mozambique Impact Summary

This overview document provides a brief overview and explanation of system design, and how those principals have been applied in Mozambique with corresponding evidence of impact including significant increases in fully vaccinated children, reduced stockouts, improved cold chain uptime and other efficiencies, all at a reduction in government operating costs…

Une nouvelle génération de chaînes d’approvisionnement des vaccins est indispensable à l’amélioration des résultats de santé (français)

October 1, 2015
Next-generation Immunization Supply Chain Key Messages

The following key messages were developed with input from colleagues at the WHO/UNICEF Supply Chain Hub, John Snow, Inc., VillageReach, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and coordinated by PATH. They are intended to unite partners and stakeholders in a common language around immunization and health supply chain strengthening and may be used freely by all partners when communicating about immunization supply chains issues and solutions…

O papel do desenho sistemático para cadeias de abastecimento da imunização melhoradas: Novas Perceçoes a Partir De Moçambique (Português)

October 28, 2016
Mozambique Impact Summary

This overview document provides a brief overview and explanation of system design, and how those principals have been applied in Mozambique with corresponding evidence of impact including significant increases in fully vaccinated children, reduced stockouts, improved cold chain uptime and other efficiencies, all at a reduction in government operating costs.

Lições aprendidas em Alcançar o Projecto Final 20: Construindo uma Cadeia de Abastecimento de Vacinas de Nova Geração em Moçambique (Português)

Lessons Learned in Reaching the Final 20

This report provides a comprehensive overview of VillageReach’s immunization supply chain strengthening work under the Final 20 Project, included lessons learned and other insights for countries looking to move to an updated or “next generation” immunization supply chain. (Portuguese Translation)

The Role of System Design: Mozambique Impact Summary

October 28, 2016
Improved Immunization Supply Chains (iSC): Mozambique

This overview document provides a brief overview and explanation of system design, and how those principals have been applied in Mozambique with corresponding evidence of impact including significant increases in fully vaccinated children, reduced stockouts, improved cold chain uptime and other efficiencies, all at a reduction in government operating costs.

Portuguese           French

Lessons Learned in Reaching the Final 20: Building a Next-Generation Immunization Supply Chain in Mozambique

Lessons Learned in Reaching the Final 20

This report provides a comprehensive overview of VillageReach’s immunization supply chain strengthening work under the Final 20 Project, included lessons learned and other insights for countries looking to move to an updated or “next generation” immunization supply chain.


Chipatala Cha Pa Foni: Healthcare Through Mobile Phones Case Study

August 1, 2016

This case study demonstrates how VillageReach approached sustainability and scale for CCPF at the national level through partnerships with the national Ministry of Health (MOH) and a merger with Airtel. Through this case study, VillageReach shares its lessons learned during the IWG grant program as it pursued sustainability and scale.

OpenLMIS: Uma Introdução ao OpenLMIS (Português)

May 23, 2016
Uma Introdução ao OpenLMIS

Portuguese Language version of the OpenLMIS Introduction.

Final 20 Policy Paper 6: Delivering the Money: The Importance of Efficient Financial Flows for Vaccine Distribution

June 13, 2016
Delivering the Money: The Importance of Efficient Financial Flows for Vaccine Distribution

This policy paper from VillageReach and the William Davidson Institute (WDI) explores the impact of adequate and reliable flow of funding all the way to the point of care as a critical component of effective immunization supply chains (iSC). Vaccine programs face inadequate funding and bottlenecks in accessing funding, both of which contribute significantly to iSC underperformance and program delays. This paper illuminates the root causes of funding flow challenges and highlights case studies that offer promising tools and approaches for improvement.

Shifting Delivery Systems in the Field while Influencing Global Policy to Change Entire Health Systems

March 1, 2016
Shifting Delivery Systems in the Field while Influencing Global Policy to Change Entire Health Systems

OpenLMIS: Présentation d’OpenLMIS (français)

May 23, 2016
Présentation d’OpenLMIS (français)

French Language version of the OpenLMIS Introduction.

A System Design Approach for Comprehensive Immunization Supply Chain Strengthening

February 1, 2016
System Design

This paper explores the Dedicated Logistics System in Mozambique and how a system design approach helps to optimize the supply chain, using tools like modeling and electronic LMIS to generate and critically examine evidence each step of the way. This approach can be applied to all activities undertaken to deliver commodities to the last mile. Supply chain managers can use system design to create blueprints for optimization and also master the skills needed to be agile and adapt the blueprints as evidence about their efficiency and effectiveness is gathered.

Next-generation Immunization Supply Chain Key Messages

October 1, 2015
Next-generation Immunization Supply Chain Key Messages

The following key messages were developed with input from colleagues at the WHO/UNICEF Supply Chain Hub, John Snow, Inc., VillageReach, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and coordinated by PATH. They are intended to unite partners and stakeholders in a common language around immunization and health supply chain strengthening and may be used freely by all partners when communicating about immunization supply chains issues and solutions.

OpenLMIS : An Introduction

May 23, 2016
OpenLMIS Introduction

A brief overview of OpenLMIS, a logistics management information system for medical commodities. OpenLMIS is an open source, web-enabled, enterprise class eLMIS solution. Includes current impact and implementations, and benefits.


next-generation immunization supply chain: change leadership

Final 20 Policy Paper 5: Change Leadership - The Making or Breaking of an Immunization Supply Chain

January 19, 2016
Change Leadership: The Making or Breaking of an Immunization Supply Chain

Change leadership and effective management are critical ingredients for modernizing immunization supply chains (iSCs) to withstand current and future pressures and ensure all children have access to vaccines. This paper, co-authored with Andrew Brown and People that Deliver, explores the necessary leadership qualities of people involved in the transition to next-generation immunization supply chains, and provides recommendations and resources to help ensure these qualities can be fostered and developed.

USAID and VillageReach Data Burden Study image

Decreasing the Data Burden at the Last Mile to Improve Data Management and Use for Stronger Pharmaceutical Systems

August 24, 2015

Governments and their partners are acutely aware of the need for innovative ways to reduce the data burden on health workers. With support from the US Agency for International Development-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, VillageReach conducted a review of data management and use practices, particularly with respect to pharmaceuticals, in Malawi and Swaziland to better define and quantify the data burden facing health workers. This brief provides both context for and an articulation of the data burden seen within health systems in LMICs. It also provides recommendations for ways that ministries of health, donors, and implementing partners can rethink their approach to data management to improve health service delivery.


July 15, 2015
J Beale, M Mashiri, and J Chakwizira

This paper reviews current transport practices within the Ministry of Health (MISAU) and highlights existing trends in commercial transport with a view to presenting considerations in which the two sectors could collaborate to achieve improved reliability and increased efficiency of the distribution of medical commodities.

Últimos 20 Maio 2015

May 22, 2015
Últimos 20 Maio 2015

O mais novo edição do Últimos 20 já chegou! Este edição enfoca no uso de dados para o gestão e a importância de obter dados de qualidade.

Final 20 Policy Paper 4: Data for Management: It’s Not Just Another Report

April 6, 2015
Data for Management: It’s Not Just Another Report

The fourth in this series, this paper addresses the many challenges in data collection and quality, and discusses the global shift towards data visualization and utilization for improved decision making. The informed push system for vaccines in Mozambique uses dedicated logisticians for improved data collection; introduced an information system built on the OpenLMIS platform for enhanced data visualization and analytics; and systematized processes for better data utilization. These changes have led to a more efficient supply chain and higher vaccine coverage rates. Read more about this as well as other global innovations in this paper.

VillageReach Overview - PORTUGUESE

March 27, 2015
VillageReach Overview - PORTUGUESE

Documento de duas páginas descrevendo missão VillageReach , abordagem e selecione inovações.

Paper-Digital Workflows in Global Development

March 14, 2015
Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing

This paper examines the collaborative practices
around paper-digital workflows within global development
organizations operating in low-resource environments. We
use a mixed methods approach to gather data from 23
organizations in 16 countries. Our findings show the
tensions that arise between the ubiquitousness of paper
and the desirability of digitized data, and highlight the
challenges associated with transitioning information several
times between paper and digital materials.

Ultimos 20 - January 2015

O desafio de fazer chegar vacinas até aos últimos 20. O Boletim de Projecto Últimos 20 em Moçambique já está disponível—novidades de nosso trabalho na cadeia de abastecimento de vacinas em Moçambique.

Annual Report 2013

May 1, 2014

2013 Annual Report

Barr Foundation From Local to Global

Barr Foundation

Guided by a vision for a vibrant, just, and sustainable world with hopeful futures for children, Barr Foundation engaged with over 20 organizations striving to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty in East Africa,India, and Haiti. Read an exerpt from the report here featuring a progress report on VillageReach Pharmacy Assitants Program, generously funded by Barr Foundation.

Cold Chain IQ Benchmarking Report

Cold Chain IQ

This report highlights 7 best-in-class case studies for the temperature controlled logistics & quality community demonstrating return on investment and improvements in efficiency and quality management, from ensuring that controlled room temperature (CRT) products are protected to improving supply chain traceability. VillageReach and the DLS Approach in Mozambique is featured on page 18.

Social Business Development Opportunities: Energy Sector


This report assesses the impact of a weak energy sector on the health system in rural communities and analyzes social business opportunities as a way to strengthen this sector.

Social Business Development Opportunities: Transport Sector


Social Business Development Opportunities: Transport Sector: This report highlights the effects of an unreliable transport sector on the health system in rural communities and analyzes social business opportunities as a way to strengthen this sector.

Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management: Series Overview


Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management: Series Overview provides a series of briefs intended for ministries of health, their partners and anyone who is interested in public health supply chains with guidance on how to address barriers countries face in quantification, procurement, warehousing, distribution, service delivery & utilization, data management, and human resources. VillageReach contributed significantly to the research and writing of this document through our participation on the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health. View all of the briefs in the Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management Series- PDF (149 pages)

USAID Report – Using Last Mile Distribution to Increase Access to Health Commodities.

USAID Report – Using Last Mile Distribution to Increase Access to Health Commodities.  A VillageReach co-authored report on last mile distribution models to improve healthcare access.

Final 20 Policy Paper 3 - System Design: Repair or Replace?

August 1, 2014
Final 20 Policy Paper 3 - System Design: Repair or Replace?

Part Three of the Reaching the Final 20 Policy Paper Series. A new policy paper on the vaccine supply chain. This paper considers the broader concept of system design and how all components of a supply chain can fit together to be most efficient. This is the third paper in our Final 20 series that looks at the different components of the supply chain, addresses the challenges faced at the last mile for distribution and presents examples of innovative approaches to address those challenges.

Path summary

A Summary for the Field Testing for the Smart Electrochlorinator 10,000

June 1, 2014

Improving access to chlorine solution for infection prevention in health centers. Published by PATH.

Final 20 Policy Paper 2: Other Duties as Required

May 1, 2014
Final 20 Policy Paper 2: Other Duties as Required

Part Two of Reaching the Final 20 Policy Paper Series. This second paper in the series focuses on the role of human resources and the specific challenges facing individuals within the health system to adequately address the needs of vaccine supply chains, particularly in low resource communities. The Final 20 series looks at the different components of the supply chain, addresses the challenges faced at the last mile for distribution and presents examples of innovative approaches to address those challenges.

Ultimos 20 - May 2014

May 1, 2014

Newsletter covering our Final 20 work in Mozambique.(Portuguese only) O desafio de fazer chegar vacinas até aos últimos 20.

Starting at the Last Mile: Rethinking Medical Supply Chains in Low Income Countries

February 27, 2014

This paper describes the challenges of effecting improvements in healthcare distribution systems and VillageReach’s approach, streamlining logistics, applying digital information systems, and leveraging the private sector to improve community infrastructure capacity.

Private Sector Engagement Guidance Document (updated)

January 19, 2016
United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodites, Technical Reference Team on Private Sector Engagement

Through work with the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, VillageReach has taken the lead on developing this Private Sector Engagement Guidance Document. Through a collaborative process, it has been developed to provide guidance to stakeholders on identifying opportunities where public and private sector parties can work together to increase access to high quality life-saving commodities and the process for engagement to ensure a productive and smooth process for all parties involved. Download the Guide Here.

Final 20 Policy Paper 1: Keeping the Cold Chain Cold

February 1, 2014
Final 20 Policy Paper 1: Keeping the Cold Chain Cold

Part One of Reaching the Final 20 Policy Paper Series. This first paper in the series documents the challenges of the cold chain at the last mile of delivery and providing examples of new innovations and approaches to improve cold chain monitoring and maintenance. The Final 20 series looks at the different components of the supply chain, addresses the challenges faced at the last mile for distribution and presents examples of innovative approaches to address those challenges.

Sustainable Financing for mHealth

February 1, 2014
mHealth Alliance, Vital Wave Consulting

An analysis of five financial models that exist today in priority mHealth areas.

Ultimos 20 - January 2014

January 1, 2014

The first VillageReach/Mozambique newsletter provides an overview of VillageReach, our Final 20 project, and highlights some of our great colleagues that ensure vaccines get delivered to the last mile. (in Portugese only) O primeiro boletim de VillageReach/Moçambique já está disponível. Ele fornece uma visão geral de VillageReach, o nosso projecto Final 20, e destaca alguns dos nossos grandes colegas que garantam vacinas são entregues nos locais mais recônditos do pais.

mHealth Field Guide for Newborn Health

January 1, 2014
USAID, dimagi, coregroup

Read the case study on page 13 featuring VillageReach CCPF  “Health Center by Phone” program in Malawi. Produced by CORE Group, Dimagi & USAID

Mozambique: Strengthening the Community Health Worker Supply Chain

June 1, 2013
USAID Deliver Project, Task Order 4

A report of supply chain strengthening interventions focused on community health workers in Mozambique, covering antimalarial drugs, rapid diagnostic tests, male condoms, and essential medicines for a variety of treatments.

Addressing Gender and Women's Empowerment in mHealth for MNCH

March 1, 2013
mHealth Alliance (UN Foundation)

An analytical framework for addressing gender and women’s empowerment within mHealth and MNCH programs.

ICTs for Supply Chain Management in Low-Resource Settings

February 1, 2013
VillageReach, diMagi

A VillageReach co-authored report discusses a variety of open-source ICTs for supply chains in low-resource settings from light mobile applications to simple information systems.

Computerizing Logistics Management Information Systems

October 1, 2012
USAID Deliver Project, Task Order 4

As in-country public health logistics systems become more integrated and sophisticated, many countries are looking to automate their logistics management information systems (LMIS) in order to improve the quantity, quality, and timeliness of logistics data throughout the country. These guidelines were written for managers in the Ministry of Health, program managers, donors, and management information system (MIS) program officers as a reference when considering starting an LMIS automation project, planning for one, and executing that plan. Organized around the phases of a software development project, these guidelines provide practical information and resources to ensure proper program management of a complex technology planning process.


Computerizing Logistics Management Information Systems

October 1, 2012
USAID Deliver Project, Task Order 4

A technical guide of best practices for the development of digital LMIS platforms.

Framework for OpenLMIS

February 29, 2012

Provides an updated view of the OpenLMIS vision, its community benefits and organization.

Access to Energy for the Base of the Pyramid

October 1, 2009
Ashoka, Hystra, Total, Schneider Electric, GDF SUEZ

VidaGas highlighted in an independent report analyzing projects serving the poorest, and that are economically viable and scalable.

Information Systems for Last-Mile Health System Strengthening

July 1, 2009
VillageReach, USAID, PATH

This report was prepared in conjunction with PATH for USAID to explain the role of information technology in global health using the VillageReach management information system (vrMIS) as a case study.


Remembering The Joy of Paulin Kaza

One of VillageReach’s employees, Paulin Kaza, had his young life tragically cut short in a car accident on June 25, 2020. Paulin has been VillageReach’s provincial coordinator in Tanganikya, a Southeast province of DRC, since he started with the organization in December 2018.

VillageReach named ‘Outstanding Organization’ as part of WGHA’s 2020 Pioneers of Global Health Awards

The Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) has announced the 2020 Pioneers of Global Health Award winners, which recognize people and organizations who work tirelessly to improve health equity around the world. VillageReach has been named the winner of the Outstanding Organization Award.

Meeting Halfway — The Role of Governments in Scaling Innovation

Few people doubt that innovations from outside the public sector can help governments address myriad social problems. What is much less clear is the pathway for ensuring that promising innovations are sustained at scale. As Africa Regional Advisor for Health Innovation at WHO, Dr. Moredreck Chibi is helping light the innovation path for the 47 member states in the Africa region.
Dr. Chibi shared his views during a dialogue led by Catalyst 2030, a global movement of social change innovators working to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Catalyst 2030 will present propositions to the UN Taskforce and governments for a potential UN Resolution next month.

This conversation has been edited.
Q. Dr. Chibi, what do you think is the best way for government to stimulate collaboration on innovations with social entrepreneurs?
First, governments need to help create a coordination mechanism that supports the innovation supply and demand nexus. There’s so much energy in bringing new ideas into the system, or innovation supply. But there’s a disconnect in terms of demand. We need senior government leaders to consolidate efforts and guide social innovations into the system. They should highlight strategic areas where social entrepreneurs can accelerate delivery and access…

We must act to dismantle racism.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off ones’ chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  – Nelson Mandela 

We are in the midst of a historical reckoning. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery –as well as so many others whose names we will never know – have created a groundswell of action around the world.  We must raise our voices to protest and condemn institutionalized racism and law enforcement violence.  We must act to dismantle racism.  

VillageReach was founded on the belief that where you live or the color of your skin should not determine whether you live or die. Yet here in the United States, where VillageReach is headquartered, a history of systemic racism has created large disparities between white and Black Americans.  Disparities in death rates from COVID-19 is merely one of many recent examples of this.  

Racism is a public health issue.  It always has been.  And while so many of us in the US reckon with our history, we have to reckon with the history of colonialism that continues to be present in global health.  

As an organization that works in Africa…

COVID-19 and four focus areas

Originally posted on

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.

Our four areas of focus:
1. Provision of accurate information to address uncertainty and misinformation. Denial, myth, rumor, stigma and misinformation remain rife in some of the communities where we work. These combine in a vicious way to make people more susceptible to infection. We are collaborating with partners and governments to provide and strengthen sources of trusted information. In Malawi, we continue to support the Ministry of Health to strengthen the capacity of the national health hotline Chipatala cha pa Foni (Health Center by Phone) to reach more people 24/7. In Mozambique, our collaboration with VIAMO continues to upgrade the technical aspects…

A Change of Wheels to Get Medicines to Health Centers

In Mozambique, getting medicines to provincial warehouses is only one step in the supply chain journey. From there, changemakers like Chaido Francisco Nomeado ensure those medicines get to remote health centers. Chaido is a dispatch clerk responsible for delivering medicines to six health centers in the hardest-to-reach district in Zambézia province, Chinde. His journey requires several days, a “change of wheels” for a six-hour sailboat ride across the Zambezi River and a lot of discomfort navigating rough roads and battling mosquitoes. But to him, being a dispatch clerk is not just a job, it is a mission.

“In the beginning you almost want to give up after your first distribution, but when you go there the second time and you feel the love health workers and people have for you, you don’t think on the difficulties anymore,” Chaido said. “You are only thinking how to save those people and that inspires you.”


VillageReach collaborated with Bolloré Transport and Logistics to outsource medical supply delivery directly to health facilities as part of the government’s commitment to improve transportation and logistics. Although Chaido’s trips can be long and challenging, the gratitude he receives from…

The Changemaker Behind CCPF

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.


“We were changing lives, and the minister of health saw that. He decided to hire more nurses with the proper qualifications,” Tchongwe said.

From then on, Tchongwe would spend long hours and late nights developing the critical health information and the necessary tools for her hotline workers so that they could properly inform callers and bring them the health care they deserved. Her hard work paid off. She became a key liaison between the MoHP and VillageReach as CCPF transformed into a nationwide offering with an…

The Journey to a Health Center in Every Home: A Photo Essay

Originally posted on

In remote and rural communities, distance often prevents people from accessing the health information they need. Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone,  in Malawi extends the reach of the health care system to every community by providing access to certified health and nutrition information and services via a toll-free number.

CCPF is staffed by trained health workers who provide information and referrals over the phone.

The hotline initially focused on maternal and child health needs. CCPF has since expanded to include all standard health topics—including water, sanitation, hygiene, infectious diseases and nutrition—in accordance with Malawi’s Ministry of Health guidelines.

The hotline workers provide clients with information and advice on a wide range of health topics and refers callers displaying “danger signs” for further care at a village clinic, health center or hospital.

A “Voice Message” service allows clients to select and listen to voice recordings on sexual, reproductive, maternal and child health topics using an ordinary cell phone. The recordings are tailored to the client’s week of pregnancy or a child’s age.

Youth services were introduced in 2017, increasing access to sexual and reproductive health…

VillageReach Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

Those of us based in Seattle experienced how quickly the virus can spread, and did what we could to play our part  to minimize the spread of the virus.  We are planning for significant disruption in sub-Saharan Africa.  As you know, the situation is evolving quickly; Kenya and South Africa declared national states of emergency Sunday.  What we are able to anticipate and address in our program responses will likely change often, and we are committed to keeping the lines of communication open with our donors and partners during this time.

What we are doing

We are working to…

CCPF is a Driver of Transformative Initiative in Malawi

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.

The NPC , who is forming the development plans for Malawi and oversees their implementation, hailed the VillageReach partnership with the MoHP and other stakeholders for the development and implementation of CCPF. The award is testimony of VillageReach’s work with the government to solve health care delivery challenges in Malawian communities, particularly through encouraging the use of technology in reaching communities with health information services.

The award was presented at the launch of the National Envisioning Process by the State President of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. The National Envisioning Consultation is the official platform to launch the processes to develop a New Vision that defines the common…

Rising to the call of health center by phone to reach all Malawians

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.

Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), which means health center by phone in Chichewa, was developed by the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in partnership with VillageReach to improve health outcomes by increasing access to free, timely and quality health information.
When Tchongwe joined VillageReach in 2015, CCPF was only operating in two districts, and it focused solely on maternal and child health (MNCH) information. Since then, she became a critical liaison between MHoP and VillageReach during a time of expansion into other health topics. Now Tchongwe has played a central role in supporting the scale…

Observations from a hot zone: COVID-19 and the threat of complacency

Originally posted on
Given our reputation for working in low-resource communities in sub-Saharan Africa, VillageReach donors are asking about the impact of COVID-19 and the measures we are taking.

It is without a doubt that we are experiencing disruption, but today the community that is seeing the most disruption is not in one of the health systems usually described as under-resourced. It is right here in Seattle.

“Seattle” by Michael Gwyther-Jones
Our health system is bolstered by a top-rated School of Public Health and one of the best teaching and research medical schools in the U.S. Seattle is home to a world-renowned cancer research center and arguably the most influential foundation on the planet. All this draws some of the brightest minds in medicine, epidemiology and health care systems to our Emerald City.
Despite this, funding for public health has been constrained for years in Washington state. Shock from increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths is sweeping through the city, and rapid response protocols have left public health officials asking the same hard questions that the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had to ask…

VillageReach Board Members on the Move

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.

Dr. Iyabo Tinubu-Karch is a practicing physician with more than two decades as a hospitalist and has special interest in post-acute and long term care, minority geriatric populations, complex care management and innovative solutions in transitions of care. She is also a consultant physician in health systems improvement at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

She previously served as Associate Chief of Staff for Hospital Operations, Section Chief of Hospital Medicine and Attending Physician, Emergency Services at the Department of Veterans Affairs. An entrepreneur at heart, Dr. Tinubu-Karch recently started a company to…

How Mad Libs Helped Share Insights of Scaling Through Government

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.

My answer was that scale matters because it gives communities hope that an intervention is here to stay. For the last several years I’ve been supporting the Malawi Ministry of Health & Population (MoHP) in integrating the health hotline Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) into the government. At VillageReach we define transition as the process of integrating a solution into…

Uberizing and Revolutionizing Lab Sample Delivery in Mozambique

Originally posted on The Medium.

The number of days between diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases can have major consequences on outcomes for people with serious medical conditions such as HIV and tuberculosis. What if we could drastically reduce that time, and help people get the life-saving treatments they need faster?

Health center in Niassa province, Mozambique. VillageReach photo by Denis Onyodi
That’s exactly what VillageReach is working on with SampleTaxi — an innovative approach to transporting laboratory samples first piloted in Mozambique in partnership with the Ministry of Health and technology provider Logistimo.

                                 SampleTaxi “uber-like” interface for delivery of lab samples.
How does it work? Think Uber for healthcare. But instead of transporting people, SampleTaxi transports critical medical samples from remote health clinics to centralized laboratories for testing. Similar to a smart phone-based ride-hailing service, the program uses a combination of mobile technology, human drivers and an electronic chain of custody to efficiently move lab samples from point A to B and track their progress along the way.

                                              Fig. 1 Getting from Point A to B with SampleTaxi
The program just wrapped up its first year of operations with 30 health facilities in two districts…

Innovation and the art of solving health care challenges

Originally posted on The Medium.
One of VillageReach’s values is Innovation, where we believe creativity and fearless exploration foster lasting change. VillageReach has developed and refined an approach of co-creating innovative solutions in the delivery of health products and services, integrating solutions with proven impact into the health system, and ensuring governments and their partners are prepared to sustain them over time.
As with any innovation it starts with a challenge, such as: how can a solution address the barriers to health care when families live far from health centers? In remote and rural communities in Malawi, receiving antenatal information and care for pregnant women, or getting access to pediatric health information for babies and children can mean traveling up to 5 kilometers or farther by foot to the nearest health center. The right solution would solve for distance challenges and potentially decrease maternal and child mortality rates — because accurate information leads to informed health decisions.

Beyond distance barriers, financial barriers can also impact the ability for women and children to get the care they need. To address both of these issues and more, on September 23rd world leaders committed to the United Nations Political Declaration on universal…

Delivering Medicines Against All Odds

Routine distributions of medicines to communities at the last mile in Mozambique have always been challenging due to long distances and poor road conditions. To make matters worse, January often brings heavy rains that flood rivers and wash away roads. On certain occasions, health workers from rural clinics may have to travel over roads with deep craters or mud to reach the district warehouse to avoid stock-outs at their health center.

The Last Mile Supply Chain (LMSC) program is improving monthly distributions in a partnership with Bolloré Transport and Logistics which now delivers medicines directly to health centers in Zambézia province. “Different types of transport are being used to deliver medicines. Whether by pick-up truck, bicycle, motorbike or boat, at some stage none of these transports are useful. However, the cargo must be carried by someone.” said Shabana Gafar, Bolloré Implementation Manager for the LMSC program. In March, medicines were delivered to 11 district warehouses and 148 health facilities, including the districts of Molumbo and Morrumbala. The new distribution team is dedicated to delivering life-saving medicines to those who need it most no matter what challenge the poor roads or rain present them.

Through the mud…

Designing Human-Centered Electronic Immunization Registries

In order to reach more children with life-saving immunizations, VillageReach is applying human-centered design (HCD) methodology towards the development of an electronic immunization registry (EIR) in Mozambique. HCD can be used to establish solutions that fulfill a population’s needs and improve health outcomes. As an EIR is designed to digitize paper-based immunization records, it is important to understand how these records are updated and maintained from a human-centered perspective.

HCD is a process that places humans at the center of each step, so that the solution is tailored to their needs.[1]

These steps include:

Inspiration – we begin to understand the problem, as well as our users.
Ideation – we begin to brainstorm ways in which we can address the issue by analyzing our data.
Implementation – we plan how we will implement our solution with potential users.

VillageReach recently completed the Inspiration phase and is currently in the Ideation phase of HCD.

The first step in designing a human-centered EIR involves identifying users and understanding what they need in the system. The team went through a process of observing and interviewing immunization staff to better understand the future users’ environment. [2],[3] This included…

It takes a village to deliver the first vaccines by drone in DRC

Originally posted on

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.

Transportation challenges on the road from Widjifake to Mbandaka. Photo by Kat Tillman     
The first day of the demonstration was just like any other day in the tropical forest. The rain drizzle was on and off as I stood with colleagues and members of the community in front of the health center. 

Then we could hear it — the sound of a loud mosquito — we looked up at the sky to…

INFUSE 2019: Harnessing innovation to accelerate urban immunisation coverage

Originally posted on

Geneva, 26 July 2019 – A chatbot technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI), an analytics platform using crowd-sourced data and a new approach to transgender community engagement have all been chosen to be 2019’s INFUSE Pacesetters.

Gavi launched INFUSE – Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation – at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos to help improve vaccine delivery systems by connecting high-impact innovations with the countries that need them the most.

This year, Gavi sought innovations uniquely positioned to address the challenges involved in assuring that children living in urban areas are reached with immunisation and health services.

At a two-day workshop in Barcelona, an expert panel of Gavi-country representatives, private sector leaders and global health experts selected three INFUSE Pacesetters from more than 200 innovations:

VillageReach – Uses a chatbot technology powered by AI and machine learning to increase access to information about immunisation services.
Premise Data: Provides an analytics platform using crowd-sourced data to help governments improve and optimise immunisation services.
ZMQ Development: Leverages the power of storytelling to boost immunisation rates in the slums of New Delhi.

The 2019 INFUSE Pacesetters with Gavi CEO…

Ebola Outbreak Response in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On July 17, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO declaration is a serious matter, and one that VillageReach does not take lightly.  We support WHO’s decision to raise the global profile of this outbreak, as many lives have been lost and new resources and solutions are needed.  WHO reported on July 18th that there have been 2522 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in this region and 1698 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak. 135 of the infections have been in health workers. Since the Ebola outbreak is taking place in a conflict zone, containment and response has been difficult.


Although the area of outbreak is far away from VillageReach’s direct work with government partners in Kinshasa as well as the provinces of Equateur, Haut-Lomami, Tanganyika and Kwilu, we know that travel and commerce can easily change the trajectory of the outbreak.  We will look to provide support to those who are actively engaged in outbreak response and continue to monitor the health of our employees and their families.

Resources are needed to curb this outbreak…

How to Transition Social Solutions to Government

Originally posted on Stanford Social Innovation Review


On a rainy day in February 2018, standing among dignitaries, partners, donors, and community members, it hit home that one of our health programs was ready to fledge. We realized it as Malawi’s now former Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi unveiled a plaque on a new government building, out of which the national health hotline we developed would operate going forward. We watched its ownership slowly evolve over the course of many speeches during the ceremony. At one point, Muluzi stated the program was “an important part of achieving universal health coverage in Malawi.”  But were we ready to hand over the keys to a solution we had nurtured for nearly a decade? When was the right time? And how would we know?

“Sustainability” has long been a buzzword in the development community, but the road to long-term social impact is not always clear. Success often depends on an organization’s ability to support governments as they assume responsibility for and eventually own a program’s ongoing operations and management. If it can’t, the solution and its positive impact on the community can disappear or require external…

Drones for Health — Exchanging ideas to advance this frontier technology

Originally posted on

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.

In Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), VillageReach is testing the use of drones for health in partnership with the government and various drone companies. These short-term tests aim to prove the feasibility of drones for specific use cases, including how their performance and costs stack up against the status quo. Each of…

Three More Reasons to Invest in Health for the Excluded

Originally posted on World Bank Blogs.

At the heart of universal health coverage (UHC) is leaving no one behind.  Remarkable efforts are underway to energize culture, activate politicians and align global actors to prioritize actions that reach the poorest and most marginalized people first.  The health, economic and social benefits of UHC are well-documented.  At VillageReach, three additional reasons inspire us to lead with the last in order to ensure access to affordable and quality health services for all.

Hawa from rural Machinga district of Malawi, full of life after receiving a fistula repair surgery thanks to the health hotline Chipatala cha pa Foni (Photo by Paul Joseph Brown)

Beginning with the hard-to-reach builds resiliency.  Starting with communities that are geographically or socially difficult to reach helps us develop a model that can be adapted to other, less challenging areas. In resource-constrained environments, you need to move quickly to put in place contextually appropriate systems. And you must break down silos create more efficient systems that reach everyone.  In the remote province of Equateur, Democratic Republic of Congo, we implemented a model to bring medicines and supplies directly to health workers rather than having them leave…

Project Izizi Offers Young Malawians a Voice in Sexual and Reproductive Health

Many youth in Malawi are told that contraceptives are only for married adults. Yet so many of Malawi’s young people have expressed an unmet need. There are also unique experiences, preferences and challenges that adolescent girls and boys face in understanding, accessing and using contraceptives in Malawi. VillageReach worked with young researchers to tap into real insights that advance the development of sexual and reproductive health services and products tailored specifically for young people.

I’m at Women Deliver this week to share their insights and a future where youth are co-creators in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) products and services. You can download the poster I presented here. We recommend several actions to ensure their voices are heard:

SRHR programs must contribute to girls’ and young women’s self-determination and power to determine their future.
Increase availability of contraceptives at service delivery points nearer girls and use non-traditional distribution points such as local shops.
Engage community leaders and health workers in sensitizing community to the value of contraceptives in improving the health and quality of life for girls and young women.
Increase service delivery training for health workers, employ young men and women to provide…

OpenLMIS v3.6: User-friendly enhancements to improve ordering and save time

Originally posted on the OpenLMIS website.

The OpenLMIS initiative is proud to announce the latest release of our software, OpenLMIS version 3.6.  This release incorporates valuable feedback from OpenLMIS users, implementers, and global supply chain management experts. Our newest features aim to improve user experience, and specifically simplify processes related to ordering commodities and collating data for decision-making.  3.6 is a major accomplishment for the Initiative and a milestone for public health supply chain stakeholders globally.

This release represents the work of four organizations working collaboratively to deliver quality software and add new features. OpenLMIS is proud of the valuable contributions from partner organizations VillageReach, SolDevelo, John Snow Inc., and Ona.
DHIS2 Integration
OpenLMIS was built to interoperate with other platforms in the open-source ecosystems such as ERPs, mobile applications, and EMRs (see below image). With the 3.6 release OpenLMIS will be able to bridge the important gap between supply chain management data and centralized health services data through an integration with DHIS2.  Having the ability to combine LMIS data with health services data allows for an extra layer of deeper data analysis, and can facilitate programs to make decisions around resourcing, product wastage, coverage…

Changes at the Drugstore

Originally posted on The Medium.

Many health facilities across Malawi don’t have enough trained pharmacy staff to adequately manage stock and dispense medicines. These tasks often fall on health care providers, who already have many other responsibilities, namely caring for patients. In some cases, even a ground laborer or a security guard — who may have no training in pharmacy management — must step in to help.

Photo credit: Paul Joseph Brown for VillageReach

This critical gap is being filled by pharmacy assistants (PAs), a new cadre of health workers trained in pharmacy and supply chain management and deployed to rural pharmacies — and it’s showing promising results. Facilities with a trained PA report significant reductions in stock-outs and expired medicines and improved dispensing practices, important markers for pharmacy efficiency. The problem is, the country doesn’t have enough PAs to meet the need, particularly in rural areas.
To address this gap, Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and its partners teamed up with the USAID Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s (ONSE) Health Activity to initiate the Pharmacy Assistant mentorship program. ONSE, which is led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and implemented in coordination with…

In the Aftermath of Cyclone Idai comes Kenneth

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.


In Mozambique, there is no recorded history of two devastating tropical cyclones hitting above a Category 2 during the same cyclone season, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The World Bank has stated the damage caused by Idai reached over $2 billion. It is hard to imagine what the estimate will be now when factoring in Cyclone Kenneth.

VillageReach continues to participate in the recovery efforts for Cyclone Idai. We are also evaluating the extent of Cyclone Kenneth’s damage. As of earlier this week the number of health facilities affected was 35, with 14 of them destroyed, mostly in Pemba. We are determining whether cold chain equipment needs to be replaced.

VillageReach continues to assist the Government of Mozambique in the aftermath…

All in One Boat

Transporting vaccines, essential and generic medicines and family planning products in separate shipments when they are all going to the same health facility is an inefficient use of precious resources. An integrated system for delivering products to the last mile has been developed and implemented by the Next Generation of Supply Chain initiative (NGCA) in DRC’s Equateur province. This report details how the integrated distribution contributed to improved product availability, overall cost savings and more time for health workers to spend delivering immunizations and other health services.    

On my recent trip in Equateur province, I supported the NGCA team in the distribution of vaccines and medicines at service delivery points, using only one canoe. One of the health centers visited was Centre de Santé de Mobeka, which is about 305 km away from the provincial warehouses in Mbandaka. The Mobeka health center manager Adonis Mpaka Mamboyo expressed his full satisfaction in receiving different health products at the same time.

“I am happy every time we receive the vaccines and other health products at the same time. This helps me to concentrate only on the clinics, spend more time with the patients and assist them better, without worrying about the…

DRC Vaccine Hero: Jean Louis Esanzo

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.
Strengthening the health system
In response to this challenge, VillageReach worked with the Ministry of Health on the Next-Generation Immunization Supply Chain (NexGen iSC) program, to strengthen the health system and get health products delivered directly to health centers like Konongo. Now Jean Louis has the time and confidence to visit and monitor all the vaccination sites in surrounding villages to ensure that every child has access to quality vaccines. He is a champion for the NexGen iSC program and is known among nurses as a leader, motivator, mentor and coach.

“Vaccination is guided by international and national standards related to vaccine management, storage, transportation and use. My role during the site visit is to check, remind and ensure that those standards…

What happens when communities come together? They give.

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.
Communities both near and far come together
Catastrophic events rip communities apart, but they come back together and heroic stories begin to be told. One such story was about Mozambican fisherman Adamo Sulemene who used his boat to rescue neighbors along with others who risked overloading their own boats to save many more lives. But even farther away, the African diaspora – Mozambicans and Zimbabweans – came together as a community to provide “homegrown aid” to help their former neighbors in Beira and other locations.

Now more than 10,000 miles away, in Washington State, I saw an opportunity to connect my community to the affected communities. As a mission committee member at New Life Fellowship (NLF), I wanted to raise awareness of…

VillageReach Response to Cyclone Idai: National Vaccine Week Campaign

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

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.

Together with other health partners, VillageReach is actively working with the Government of Mozambique to address emergency needs that allow health authorities to provide basic medical care to people in the affected areas. As a short, but also mid- and long-term response, VillageReach is providing cold chain equipment to the government.


With National Vaccine Week next week, the Ministry of Health is working closely with its partners to launch a vaccination campaign that addresses both the cholera outbreak and potential outbreaks associated with poor sanitation as a result of flooding. The campaign will also provision maternal and child health services, sexual and reproductive health services, hygiene and sanitation education, among other services.

The Skoll Foundation and several generous individual donors made gifts to support VillageReach…

From Opportunities to Achievements in 2018

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.

As VillageReach delivers on its promise of quality health care for low-resource communities, we value your ongoing support. I look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2019.
With gratitude,
Emily Bancroft…

An Update on the VillageReach Response to Cyclone Idai

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.

Our team is currently engaged in an analysis to address existing gaps in health resources. Beyond the risk of waterborne disease, urgent needs include aid and medical product distribution, logistics expertise, disease surveillance and cold chain restoration. Destroyed health centers require temporary locations to tend to patients.

The financing needed for immediate relief and ultimately long-term rebuilding is significant and still to be determined.  However, we are seeing movement in this area. IMF has offered the government of Mozambique a loan of up to USD$120M in recovery aid. World Food Programme is in the process of securing USD$150M towards food. The Global Fund is supporting rehabilitation of damaged health facilities.

The Graça Machel Trust, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, (NMCF) and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC) have activated an emergency relief effort alongside communities as people…

Innovation According to Plan: Using Drones to Deliver Health Products to the Last Mile

I’ve been fortunate to work with pioneering government leaders across sub-Saharan Africa, people who are leading their countries to identify and introduce solutions for pressing health challenges. There are many reasons that some new ideas take off while others fizzle.  But when it comes to reaching remote populations, Malawi didn’t let complexity get in the way.  Instead, the government chose to figure out some of the practical details.  

The Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the Department of Civil Aviation with support from other partners did something unique.  They opened a first-of-its kind drone-testing corridor to explore drone technology and promote research on the use of drones for humanitarian purposes, including health.  The corridor, opened in Kasungu district in June 2017 allows for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) testing in a territory over 5000 km².

After successful tests inside the Kasungu drone corridor, the Ministry of Health and Population, VillageReach, and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer NextWing were hoping to advance the use of UAVs as a way to increase access to essential health products –starting with blood and oxytocin – by testing flights to a health center and a district…

VillageReach supports relief efforts after Cyclone Idai

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.

The governments of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi are already engaged in relief efforts, yet the scope of the disaster calls for an international response.  According to a United Nations report, nearly 1.7 million people in Mozambique were directly in the cyclone’s path, along with 920,000 people in Malawi, and Zimbabwe reports over 20,000 houses have been all or partially destroyed.

Among the first on the ground were teams from Medecins Sans Frontieres. In the news, Gert Verndock, MSF emergency coordinator said, “It’s even difficult to get to the health centers, because the roads are destroyed or because the health centers themselves are destroyed. I think that is our biggest challenge right now. And it’s also a challenge for the Ministry of Health, which is trying to re-establish health care as quickly as possible.”

Yesterday, in a BBC World News interview…

Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2019 [Photo Gallery]

This year’s Africa Health Agenda International Conference focused on the theme: Multi-sectoral Action to Achieve Universal Health Coverage in Africa. VillageReach colleagues Alvo Ofumane, Lucky Gondwe, and Mr. Isaac Dambula from the Ministry of Health in Malawi represented VillageReach programs SampleTaxi, Project Izizi and Health Center by Phone respectively…

To solve WA's measles epidemic, look to Africa

Originally posted on Crosscut

As a mom who spends most of her waking hours thinking about how to improve health around the world, I’ve never thought twice about whether I vaccinate my son. I know that not all of my neighbors in the Seattle area feel this way, but the decision for me is rational. Vaccines are safe, they prevent disease, and they are relatively low cost and easy to obtain.

It may be easier when, in my work with a nonprofit dealing with health systems in Africa, we are reminded constantly that deaths of children under 5 have dropped nearly 60 percent worldwide since 1990, and vaccines are a major contributor to this progress.

Yet Washington state suffers one of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the United States – below that of many low- and middle-income countries. Last Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to more than two dozen confirmed cases of measles in our state.

We are not alone — last year, 26 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia reported a measles outbreak. Indeed, years of an unfounded fear to vaccinate, such as we have seen in this…

Last Mile Heroes

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.

The Last Mile Supply Chain (LMSC) program recently began its operations in Zambézia province and the initial results are favourable. Through a private logistics provider working closely with DPS Zambézia, products were delivered to 57 health facilities in the districts of Mocuba, Milange and Quelimane in December 2018.
Everyday heroes

Helena José Virgílio, an Administrative Assistant at the District Pharmaceutical Warehouse in Mocuba said, “We are very pleased because we see that something will change with the introduction of this new approach [LMSC]. Transportation has always been our biggest challenge. We used to rely on ambulances and motorcycles so that the health centers did not run out of medicines. The distribution was not coordinated, each health center sent…

Os herois da ultima milha

José Maria, Helena José Virgílio e Pedro Terezanane representam centenas de heróis que, diariamente, faça chuva ou sol, faça frio ou calor, garantem a disponibilidade de medicamentos e outros artigos médicos nas unidades sanitárias. Como resultado milhões de pacientes em todo o país têm acesso  aos medicamentos que necessitam para o seu tratamento em tempo útil.

Nos primeiros meses da implementação do Programa Cadeia de Abastecimento até à Unidade Sanitária (LMSC) na província da Zambézia, os resultados são satisfatórios. Só em Dezembro de 2018, 57 unidades sanitárias nos distritos de Mocuba, Milange e Quelimane receberam os medicamentos através de um provedor de serviços de logística privado, em colaboração com a Direcção Provincial da Zambézia.

Helena José Virgílio é Assistente Administrativa no Depósito Distrital de Medicamentos de Mocuba, José Maria é Fiel de Armazém no mesmo distrito, e Pedro Terezanane é o responsável do Depósito Distrital de Medicamentos em Milange. Estes partilham os mesmos desafios e as mesmas expectativas em relação à introdução do sistema de distribuição terceirizada de medicamentos, através do programa LMSC.


How Malawi’s Pharmacy Assistant program helped a young woman help others

A Success Story

Pharmaceutical management is something that Kelliter Chizinga had always wanted to study and pursue as a career.  In November 2016, Chizinga’s passion for being of service to the community motivated her to enroll at the Malawi College of Health Sciences in Lilongwe in a two-year pharmacy assistant certificate program that aimed to train and deploy 650 pharmacy assistants across Malawi by 2020.

Malawi, like many low-and middle-income countries, has a critical shortage of pharmacy personnel.  Previously, the government health centers had no trained personnel in this discipline, which led to service delivery challenges due to unqualified staff managing medicines, and medical supplies and dispensing to patients. The Ministry of Health has since set a goal of having a pharmacy assistant in every rural facility.

Supported by the USAID Global Health Supply Chain-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project and implemented by the Malawi Ministry of Health, Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) and VillageReach, the pharmacy assistants training program develops a new cadre of health workers for rural pharmacies in Malawi and addresses the shortage of health care workers in Malawi. Approximately 270 pharmacy assistants graduated in 2018, of which more than…

Looking Better than Ever: OpenLMIS v3.5 offers exciting new visual & analytics capabilities

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.

This release represents the work of four organizations working collaboratively to deliver quality software and add valuable features.. OpenLMIS is proud of the contributions from all contributors from VillageReach, SolDevelo, John Snow Inc., and Ona.

The most exciting new feature of this release is undoubtedly the launch of our new open-source reporting service, designed through collaboration with Ona, to collate and organize data into useful, actionable visualizations in a dashboard.

With this infrastructure and open source tooling, it makes it easier to capture data from multiple sources, if there are multiple systems in the country, and  aggregate, merge, clean, and organize data in a scalable way that allows for near-real time visualizations. Implementers can leverage the robust visualization tool included in OpenLMIS or leverage a third party Business Intelligence tool (such as Tableau) if it is already in use or desired.

The dashboard is easy for…

Letting Youth Lead: Engaging Youth Champions

A Platform for Youth
Transforming Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) – health center by phone – into a youth-friendly health service requires support from unexpected places. Since 2011, this service has provided health information to communities around Malawi. Through the DREAMS Innovation Fund, CCPF has expanded to provide a free, confidential option for young women and men to learn more about sexual and reproductive health topics.

Hotline nurses were trained in youth-friendly service practices. New content was developed targeted at the specific needs of youth. Partnerships were coordinated to make the service more accessible to youth. Everything was ready to go – the question became, how do we encourage youth to call?

Working with partners and Adolescent Advisors, VillageReach taps into existing networks and finds passionate youth who can champion CCPF for Adolescents among their peers.
Austin Becomes a Youth Champion
Working with fellow adolescents is nothing new for Austin. At 19-years-old, Austin is already an active member of his community in Liwonde township. He is involved in several youth clubs, including a club hosted by the Youth Impact organization. This is where he first heard about CCPF for Adolescents.

Mwayi and Shaban – two Adolescent Advisors – came to speak…

Increasing Youth Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information

DREAMS Innovation Challenge | Success Story

Connecting adolescents with resources is nothing new for Tinnah Onions—it is Tinnah’s first time, however, linking adolescents to sexual and reproductive health information via Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone, a toll-free mobile health hotline in Malawi.  CCPF utilizes trained healthcare workers to provide health information and referrals over the phone, providing a critical link to the health system, especially for remote and underserved communities.  Tinnah and her colleague Justin Mpalabwazi are some of the most recent additions to the VillageReach team through CCPF for Adolescents, an initiative of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge.  As adolescent advisers, Tinnah and Justin focus on promoting the CCPF service to their adolescent peers and improving the quality of customer service that the hotline offers. In their roles, Tinnah and Justin play a critical role to help address the sexual and reproductive health information needs of adolescents in Malawi.

Malawi sees high rates of pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among adolescents, which contribute to school dropouts among the country’s youth. In addition, unintended pregnancies among adolescent girls can have far-reaching consequences and can lead to unsafe abortions, dangerous childbirths…

Getting Creative for Sexual Reproductive Health: Taurai's Story

DREAMS Innovation Challenge | Success Story

More than anything, Taurai Kamfosi loves to sing. Music has played an important part of her life since she was a small child and at 10 years old, she composed her first song. It became even more important to her when her parents could not afford her school fees, and she focused on pursuing a passion for music.

For Taurai, music is a powerful tool. Even from an early age, Taurai has dedicated her musical talents to empowering women. As a young girl, she performed in her community to encourage young girls to resist peer pressure, to value their education, and to make smart choices for themselves. She has seen firsthand the pressure many girls face from older men – and she knows how early pregnancies and teenage marriage can prevent women from pursuing their dreams.   

Recently, Taurai has turned her musical talents to a new cause: Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) for Adolescents – a youth-friendly, toll-free health hotline that provides vital sexual and reproductive health information to youth in Malawi.

Turning music into action
In July 2017, Taurai met a team of Adolescent Advisors representing Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, or “Health Center by…

OpenLMIS Releases Version 3.4

Reposted from OpenLMIS

OpenLMIS is a global initiative to support the development of shareable, interoperable, open-source software for electronic logistics management information systems. The OpenLMIS initiative’s mission is to make a powerful Logistics Management Information System (LMIS) available in low-resource environments – providing high-quality logistics management to improve health commodity distribution in low- and middle-income countries.

The OpenLMIS community is very pleased to announce the release of version 3.4 of the OpenLMIS software. Version 3.4 incorporates a variety of new features and enhancements:  

Users can simplify the requisition process by creating a requisition in one click based off of stocking data.
The reporting platform is now easier to deploy and setup.
A number of usability improvements around filling out a Report and Requisition (R&R).
New requisition columns and improved convert to order functionality.
Users can easily opt out of email notifications, can update their own profile and reset their passwords.

Reference the Release Notes for more details.

These critical improvements translate to time-savings, improved reporting processes, and better data management at the country level.  

OpenLMIS increases data visibility, helping supply chain managers identify and respond to commodity needs, particularly at health…

Getting Smart on Drones in Mozambique - UAS4TB Stakeholder Seminar

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.

Ministry of Health, Aviation experts, mining companies, cartographers, disaster response teams, defense experts, the U.S. CDC and officials from the Civil Aviation Administration, Ministry of Science and Technology, and VillageReach all came together to discuss the potential for drones in Mozambique, including how UAS4TB, could be a game-changer for the most rural areas within the laboratory sample transportation network.
The Seminar on the use of UAVs in Mozambique was co-hosted by UKAID and the “Instituto Nacional de Saúde” or “National Institute of Health” (INS) through funding from the Frontier Technology Livestreaming programme. The INS, an organization advancing the scientific agenda of the country, and many others engaged in fruitful discussions to explore how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (widely…

Learning to Talk to Young People

DREAMS Innovation Challenge | Success Story

Funding from the DREAMS Innovation Challenge supports the expansion of Malawi’s mobile health hotline Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone. Implemented by VillageReach and its partners, CCPF for Adolescents builds on the existing toll-free hotline to improve access to youth-friendly sexual reproductive health (SRH) information and referral services. CCPF for Adolescents operates in two DREAMS project districts that have high rates of unplanned pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections/HIV among adolescents.

SRH services for young people must be supportive, client-centered, judgment-free, affordable and accessible. In June 2017, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), a leader in the delivery of youth-friendly SRH care, provided training to VillageReach hotline workers. VillageReach staff developed an understanding of how to support the needs of their young clients, while PPGNHI staff heard about the life-saving work that CCPF does in communities across Malawi.

PPGNHI also conducted a training of trainers (TOT) for 27 people from CCPF’s leadership and the VillageReach team to ensure sustained capacity to uphold youth-friendly services. One of the staff who participated in this training was Patience Tchongwe, CCPF…

Reaching Further: Dauda Majanbu

Dauda Majanbu is trying to solve a complicated problem: delivering family planning supplies to rural health centers in Nigeria. It’s a problem that requires collaboration while also expertly managing resources and expectations. As the lead for the Family Planning Access for Women project at VillageReach, Dauda works with the government and partners to strengthen last mile distribution systems for contraceptive, maternal and neonatal health commodities in two Nigerian states.

Where Youth-Friendly Health Information is Just a Phone Call Away

DREAMS Innovation Challenge  |  Success Story

Connecting adolescents with resources is nothing new for Tinnah Onions, but it is her first time linking them to sexual and reproductive health information via the toll-free Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF)— Health Center by Phone—hotline. CCPF hires health care workers to provide health information and referrals over the phone, providing a critical link to the health system, especially for remote and underserved communities.

Tinnah and her colleague Justin Mpalabwazi are some of the most recent additions to CCPF for Adolescents, an initiative of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge. As adolescent advisors, they promote the CCPF service to their peers, helping to meet the sexual and reproductive health information needs of adolescents in Malawi.

Malawi has high rates of pregnancy, and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) among adolescents, which contribute to school dropout among the country’s youth. In addition, unintended pregnancies among adolescent girls have far-reaching consequences and can lead to unsafe abortions, dangerous child birth, and even death.

One factor contributing to these high rates of pregnancy and STIs is adolescents’ inability or hesitancy to seek information or care for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues. Distance to the…

UAS 4 TB, a game-changer for rural Mozambique

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…

More than Meets the Eye: OpenLMIS in 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.

Every month, health workers send Benat paper forms reporting on the medicine stocks at their health facility: medicines they’ve used, medicines that have expired, and medicines that are out of stock. He is then responsible for entering the information from these paper forms into a new online system and placing orders with the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST).

In 2017, the Malawi Ministry of Health with support from Chemonics introduced the version 3 series of OpenLMIS – a web-based, open source electronic logistics system – to enhance the availability of life-saving medicines across the country. Benat has already seen its impact.
Increasing data quality
“We had quality data the first month using OpenLMIS, which was something I was also striving for…

Getting Up To Speed: The Pharmacy Assistant Mentorship Program

Mbang’ombe 1 Health Center is in the back yard of Lilongwe International Airport. In terms of access to quality health services however, the facility might as well be far from Lilongwe. At approximately 50 km from the Lilongwe District Health Office and Central Medical Stores, the facility serves a rural community. It has one clinician, four nurses, 11 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) and several support staff who serve over 5,000 households, a total population of 24,762 people. The facility has never had pharmacy personnel.

Laiford Nandolo is one of the two HSAs that help manage the drugstore in the absence of a trained Pharmacy Assistant. Although Laiford has over 10 years of experience as a health worker, most of his drugstore clerk experience has been on the job without formal training, except a one-day training he received back in 2014.

But something changed in early 2017 – Laiford and another HSA  joined the Pharmacy Assistant Mentorship Training Program. This mentorship program utilized Pharmacy Assistants, who are formally trained in pharmacy management and dispensing, to support nearby facilities like the Mbang’ombe 1 Health Center who do not have pharmacy personnel. Laiford began receiving on-the-job training…

Delivering on a Promise: Improved Data Helps Protect the Boso-Mbuki Community

I had the privilege of meeting Ruphin Ndumbala on my recent visit to Equateur province, DRC. Ruphin is one of the many frontline health workers who go above and beyond to ensure vaccines reach every last child. Recently, he made a promise, and I was honored enough to see him deliver.

“I used to spend at least two days’ roundtrip to collect vaccines.” Ruphin spoke outside of his clinic in rural Equateur province. “It was a big concern for my family that I was leaving behind, but also for the patients I was leaving unattended.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, vaccines must traverse a long journey to reach health workers like Ruphin. First, they are transported from the central level to provincial storage sites, where health workers from the surrounding health centers come to retrieve them. Ruphin, a registered nurse, works in Boso-Mbuki health center which is 71 miles away from the closest storage site. In a car, the distance may not seem long, but with very limited transportation options this journey is a hard one. To get to Boso-Mbuki, you must first take a canoe to Inkanza village and from there walk down a narrow path…

Achievements Worth Celebrating!

Stories coming from Lolanga-Mampoko district in Equateur province often focus on the challenges communities face in accessing health care. I see these challenges every day and work with partners to help communities overcome them. But not all of our stories are about challenges. For this African Vaccination Week, we are celebrating what we have achieved over the past year.

The initiative NGCA (Next Generation of Supply Chain or Nouvelle Generation de la Chaine d’Approvisionement in French) helped to turn around the situation in Lolanga-Mampoko. With supply chain improvements came increased availability of vaccines at local storage sites. This in turn enables health workers to increase the number of routine vaccination sessions and vaccination outreach. There are three notable changes:

We have more than doubled vaccination sessions, which is among the key indicators of health district performance. While in 2016 there were less than 100 vaccination sessions completed, in 2017 we achieved over 200. These include both fixed and advanced strategies, where health workers organize strategies to find even one child who is not coming to the health center.
In 2016, the health district was in Category 2 for the quality and accessibility of services. In 2017, it…

Imagine 18 million more healthy children

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.For our new innovation, we started by listening. We heard from warehouse logisticians about the lack of workforce support, from district officials who wanted flexible data collection tools, and national EPI managers who asked for an end-to-end solution that provided data visibility into all aspects of their program. From our colleagues in Zambia looking for a solution to reduce the paperwork burden on health…

All Available Tools: Integrating Vaccines Into Zambia's Cholera Response

This blog highlights Zambia’s response to cholera outbreaks and the import of streamlined supply chains for more effective response.

Bending the Arc: Why #HealthWorkersCount

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.  – Theodore Parker

This week we celebrate World Health Worker Week.  I cannot think of a better testimony to health workers than those shown in “Bending the Arc”, a documentary chronicling the journey of the people behind Partners in Health.  The VillageReach team gathered to screen this film, which beautifully chronicles the health workers, patients, and activists who demonstrate the value of building a “preferential option for the poor” in health care.

“Bending the Arc” tells the story of health workers who showed up every day to make sure their TB or HIV patients took their medicines, had food to keep them strong during treatment, and had the social support needed to get through years of treatment.  Partners in Health hired and empowered community health workers (“accompagnateurs”) to reach patients directly, as a contrast to the westernized model of patients needing to reach health care facilities.  Then the organization used its influence to bring the evidence of this success to policymakers, global gatekeepers, regulators, and financing institutions and break down pervasive barriers to equitable and affordable health care.

One of the most powerful scenes in the movie shows…

World Vaccine Congress: Q&A with Emily Bancroft

Reposted from World Vaccine Congress

What technology has had the biggest impact on vaccine supply chains over the last 10 years?

There is no ‘magic bullet’ that has revolutionized vaccine supply chains over the last ten years. Instead, a range of technologies working in concert with one another have contributed to more effective and efficient supply chains. Developments in cold chain technology, data gathering and analytics, and even in transportation have all had significant impacts on the availability of vaccines. These technologies all must work in-sync with each other to provide both the infrastructure and information needed to ensure vaccines are available where and when they are needed and in the right condition. We must also ensure these technologies are appropriate and available at all levels of the supply chain. As a global community, we have greatly improved the systems, infrastructure and financing to ensure sufficient vaccines reach low-resource countries, but the real impact comes when these technologies and systems work all the way down to the last mile as well.

What are the biggest challenges to ensuring that vaccine supply chains can cope with increased demand?

In order to ensure that vaccine supply chains can cope with…

From Theirs to Ours: Proximity and the Power of Relationship

Reposted from Skoll Perspectives

Izizi ndi Zathu Zomwe. This is ours. That’s the name my team of adolescent researchers has given a groundbreaking public health initiative—a close study of their peers’ needs, behaviors, and preferences related to contraceptives. That name signals the importance of the qualitative, context-specific information required to succeed in such an initiative—proximity is necessary to develop the new approaches that will improve healthcare access for all. The data from this study will assist product manufacturers and policy stakeholders to address the unique and specific contraceptive needs of young people.

At VillageReach, proximity is multi-dimensional. It must mean nearness in relationship as well as nearness in space and time. Shared ownership allows organizations to truly see and represent the individuals they serve.

Social entrepreneurs have become skilled at finding creative ways to bridge geographic proximity. In Malawi, we are building on a rich history of leapfrogging technologies that can overcome distance in low-resource settings. Data capture and analysis are helping ensure the right health products are available at the right time in the right places. UAVs are being tested to address the availability of blood in emergencies, access to routine health products…

Voices of 2017: A Year in Review

At VillageReach, we often use numbers and data to understand how our work increases access to quality health care. Since our founding in 2000, our programs have reached more than 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa – and that number continues to grow. But as we look at the progress we made in 2017, numbers only tell part of the story. The success of VillageReach is also reflected by our collaboration with partners, our dedicated staff and the generosity of our supporters. Their voices tell us why 2017 has been such a remarkable year:

“It is only when you combine local knowledge, local systems and local reach with global knowledge and a global network, that an initiative will get rooted and grow.”
-Mrs. Graça Machel, Advocate for Women & Children’s Rights
Graça Machel returned to Seattle after 17 years, when she first helped inspire the founding of VillageReach. At a gathering of VillageReach staff and supporters, Ma Machel spoke of her passion for supporting women and children around the world – and the importance of starting at the last mile. Her wisdom and experience reignited the same passion in all of us at VillageReach.
“We have committed funding…

Histoire du Centre de Santé Monzambi

Depuis plus de 14 ans, nous allons prendre les vaccins au dépôt du Bureau central de la Zone de santé situé à 135 kilomètres d’ici par pirogue à ramer et le voyage dure 4 jours au moins.

Quand nous rentrons avec les intrants au niveau du centre de santé ici à Monzambi, on arrive très épuisés par le voyage qui exige beaucoup d’effort à fournir mais, malheureusement, on ne ramène en plus que des vaccins virés ou en voie de l’être à cause de l’interruption de la chaîne de froid puisque nous transportons ces intrants avec des boîtes isothermes dans lesquelles nous mettons les accumulateurs.
Cet appui de VillageReach nous permet de nous occuper aisément de nos malades, d’économiser nos énergies et d’améliorer nos stratégies de vaccination.
Une bonne chose nous est arrivée maintenant depuis le mois de juillet 2017: VillageReach appui régulièrement le transport des intrants de bonne qualité en bonne quantité et dans les bonnes conditions depuis l’antenne provinciale du Programme élargi de vaccination (PEV). Cet appui de VillageReach nous permet de nous occuper aisément de nos malades, d’économiser…

Keeping Cool: A New Partnership with Bull City Learning

Vaccines are extremely sensitive to temperature. They must remain between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius in order to remain viable. Outside of this temperature range, vaccines become less effective at preventing diseases. Because of this, the storage and handling of vaccines need careful attention. The equipment and devices used to ensure vaccines stay in the right temperature range are known as the “cold chain.” When vaccines are transported, stored in a refrigerator, or used in an immunization session, the cold chain keeps the temperature right. Significant investments have been made in updating cold chain equipment in many countries, but overall performance remains a significant concern.

With our new partner Bull City Learning, VillageReach is strengthening the vaccine cold chain in Malawi. Using human-centered design principles, we are creating an easy-to-use, interactive, digital manual on refrigerator maintenance and repair. By providing this tool for cold chain technicians, we hope to improve routine maintenance of essential equipment used to keep vaccines at the right temperatures.

Global data shows that the maintenance of cold chain infrastructure gets weaker as vaccines move from higher levels of a supply chain towards the local level where the vaccines are used. Key observations from…

What-if Thinking: Grand Challenges Explorations

What if…? These two words can be a spark for innovation. At VillageReach, our work often begins with this question. We start with big, promising ideas and work towards creating evidence of their impact in the hardest-to-reach communities. We are excited by our latest Grand Challenges Explorations award rooted in what-if thinking.

What if we can use ride-sharing for faster lab results?

Early diagnosis is key to timely access to treatment and health care services. In Mozambique, lab samples for testing tuberculosis and infant HIV must be transferred from health facilities to central laboratories for testing. While some facilities have scheduled transport for these samples, many use an informal transportation system. These informal arrangements can result in delays in getting samples where they need to go, sometimes without proper documentation and accountability.
Our idea is to coordinate transportation resources by using ride-sharing to match sample transport needs with planned transportation routes.
Our idea is to coordinate transportation resources by using ride-sharing to match sample transport needs with planned transportation routes. Similar to ride-sharing in major cities, we will use technology and dispatchers to connect vehicles already traveling to health facilities with samples in…

We Build by Listening: OpenLMIS at TechNet

OpenLMIS is a community dedicated to collective impact. We are always learning and listening for new ideas. We organize user-centered design workshops, talk with global leaders, and incorporate best-in-class technologies to meet the needs of global health supply chains. The most recent TechNet-21 Conference provided yet another opportunity to hear more from our partners in the immunization sector.

This conference brought together global leaders to find solutions to pressing immunization supply chain problems – getting vaccines to the right people at the right time, and ensuring vaccines arrive and stay in the right condition. Conference participants presented innovative solutions that address these challenges, and organizations like Gavi and WHO renewed their commitment to the principles of data for management (D4M). The OpenLMIS community was well represented both in presentations and panels, and we listened throughout the conference to ensure that OpenLMIS responds to real needs. Here are just a few of our takeaways:  

Without good digitized data, there is no management

Throughout the conference, participants talked about guidance on interpreting data, predictive analysis, and forecasting – all ways of utilizing data for management of the vaccine supply chain. The essential point here, however, is without digitized data, none…

Is a new take on old ideas the future of innovation?

Donors and NGOs around the world are investing in technologies that promise to make vaccines available to children everywhere. Many of these innovations took center stage at last week’s TechNet Conference, reflecting the enthusiasm to try something new. But maybe what we need is not necessarily something new – just something different.

Not just new ideas – old ideas applied in new contexts.

Many problems the supply chain community is trying to solve haven’t changed much in 30 years: how do we get vaccines from point A to point B? How do we keep them in the right temperature range? How do we create accurate forecasts? New technologies have shown incredible promise. Nexleaf monitors vaccine temperatures with ColdTrace devices even during transport. The BID Initiative champions appropriate technology in data for decision-making. LLamasoft improves the design of supply chains using modeling software. These innovations have the potential to disrupt the status quo – to leapfrog outdated systems and implement cutting-edge health delivery.

Not every innovation needs to be awe-inspiring. Sometimes the best solutions are the most humble, old ideas applied in new ways. Success is reliant on people and systems, so we must ensure health workers have the…

A Masterpiece in Progress: Seeing the Bigger Picture through Supply Chain Modeling

Through my work optimizing supply chains, I have truly come to realize the importance of looking at “the big picture.” If every detail matters in the effective operation of a supply chain, it is also critical to connect the dots and understand how functions interact. Getting health products to remote health centers is no straightforward endeavor—there are many complex steps and processes involved that can make it difficult to visualize the larger, connected system.

Supply chain modeling not only creates the big picture representation of a country’s existing supply chain, it also provides an opportunity to see how changes to one component can affect the overall capabilities of the supply chain. Modeling software makes it easier to process large, diffuse, unrelated data into meaningful interconnected performance indicators. Supply chain managers can get a different look at their supply chains, see the impact of their investments, and consider when and how to improve performance from several angles.

There are many ways a country can achieve a properly functional, affordable and sustainable vaccine supply chain. And if there’s been one recurring lesson from my supply chain work across Africa, it is that one size never fits all. A one…

On Road and River: Distributions begin in DRC

I am proud to announce that last month a team composed of provincial government and VillageReach staff successfully conducted the first direct distribution of vaccines and family planning commodities in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Under the Next Generation Supply Chain Initiative, this constitutes a major milestone worth celebrating. It represents more than a year of planning and advocacy to engage government leaders and partners (UNICEF, ECC CORDAID, SANRU, OMS, and Croix Rouge) to take bold steps toward change to ensure more reliable delivery of vaccines and other essential health commodities to “the last mile”, often the most remote and hard-to-reach communities in DRC.

Between July 21 and August 3, the team traveled by motorbike, truck and boat, covering 1,724 kilometers across three health zones: Bolomba, Lolanga-Mampoko, and Mankanza, supplying 30 storage facilities with enough vaccines to cover the needs of 58 health centers for over a month, serving a population of 542,514. One health zone also received family planning products in the same distribution. Evidence from our work in DRC will demonstrate how resource sharing across supply chains can contribute to greater efficiencies and more reliable access to health products…

Two Geeks and a Summer of Code!

Reposted from Rails Girls Summer of Code.
Who, us?
Hola! We are Protichi Basak and Nikita Gupta, fresh Computer Science graduates from IIIT-Delhi, India. And if you were to believe our batchmates, we were amongst the nerdiest girls there (something which gives us more pride than embarrassment for some reason). 😛 Although we have known each other for four years, our friendship feels like decades old already. It brings a smile to our faces every time we remember our first day, where every student was asked to introduce themselves to the entire batch, but Nikita used that opportunity to find her roommate Protichiinstead, for she found the name so unique! Being roommates from the very first day of college we have been partners in all craziness ever since. Yet we are poles apart. While Protichi is a trilingual, hardcore fish-lover hailing from the lands of Bengal, Nikita is a strict vegetarian from North India mad about Rajasthani folk and food!

Our passion to learn new technologies and use them to solve real world issues has driven us this far and has brought us together to make a great team! And this is how we came up with our…

Moving Day: A new home for CCPF

This week, Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) or “Health Center by Phone” moved its operations from Balaka, a rural community in southern Malawi, to its new facility in the capital city of Lilongwe. As we packed up the phones, headsets, and files, I was struck by how symbolic the moment was. This move is more than a change of location. It represents the progress of CCPF many years in the making: from a maternal and child health service in one district to a comprehensive health hotline accessible to more than 5 million people across the country. From this new facility, CCPF will have the proper infrastructure and operational capacity to become Malawi’s first government-run national health hotline, a goal we are on track to reach by December of this year. At that stage, the service will be accessible to over 17 million Malawians. Having supervised this program for one and a half years, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the Government of Malawi Ministry of Health, our dedicated CCPF teams, and all of the donors and partners who have made this day possible.

This move is more than a new facility, it’s…

A National Mobile Health Hotline in Malawi: One Step Closer

I am pleased to announce that the Malawi Ministry of Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to scale the mobile health hotline Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), or “Health Center by Phone,” nationally. When complete, CCPF will be the first, government-run national mobile health hotline in Africa. This MOU solidifies the Ministry’s commitment to fully adopt and integrate CCPF into the established health system. As with any innovation, and particularly within the digital health landscape, getting to this stage of scale is a major achievement.

“When complete, CCPF will be the first, government-run national mobile health hotline in Africa.”

Why it Matters

In many communities, distance often prevents people from seeking care, particularly at the last mile where access is most limited. Through CCPF, people can access health information, advice, and referrals simply by making a toll-free phone call. By providing this vital health service, CCPF bridges the gap in health care access that many Malawi communities face. When scale up is complete by the end of 2017, CCPF will reach all districts, serving more than 17 million people, significantly extending the reach of the health system. Remote access to health workers also reduces…

Getting to Work: Accurate Data to Reach 100%

World Immunization Week is a perfect time to reflect on global priorities and our commitment to the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). This framework guides the work of organizations around the world to reach every child with life-saving vaccines. It is also a way to measure our collective success. Accurately measuring our progress against GVAP targets is central to moving the needle globally, but we need to be confident in the data.

I recently heard a ministry official summarize the challenges to increasing immunization in an area suspected to have a high number of unimmunized children. This was very different from the story told by the numbers. The administrative coverage rates (based on census numbers and the reported number of administered vaccine doses) for the region were well over 100%. Surveys designed to provide a baseline comparison in the same area reported lower numbers, but the data still showed surprisingly high coverage – above 80%. People at this meeting quickly said they were ‘tired’ of hearing about coverage rates because of the well-known data quality issues. This frustration with data quality has echoed at nearly every immunization stakeholder meeting I’ve attended. Clearly inaccurate data is less meaningful – and…

OpenLMIS Version 3 - A Global Achievement

Reposted from OpenLMIS

The release of OpenLMIS version 3 is truly something to celebrate – it is the result of an extraordinary collaboration of organizations and individuals around the world.

Teams from multiple countries contributed technical requirements, defined business processes, and wrote countless hours of code for the latest iteration of OpenLMIS, a powerful, enterprise class logistics management information system (LMIS).

The OpenLMIS Initiative’s mission is to make a high quality, powerful LMIS software available in low-resource environments – providing high-quality logistics management to improve health commodity distribution in low- and middle-income countries. OpenLMIS increases data visibility, helping supply chain managers identify and respond to commodity needs, particularly at health facilities where lack of data significantly impacts the availability of key medicines and vaccines.

Over the last year, software development teams led by VillageReach in the U.S. and SolDevelo in Poland completely redesigned the core software architecture of OpenLMIS, using a micro-service approach to create a more flexible and extensible architecture.

As of today, an initial set of services is now accessible under this new architecture, providing users a high degree of customization without changing the core code. Users can choose which features they want to…

Collaboration: The Key to Successful Supply Chain Transformation in DRC

At the 2017 African Union Summit, Heads of State endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, which demonstrates convincing political support to improve equitable access to vaccines.  Now countries must embrace the hard work required to deliver immunizations and other health commodities to all citizens. Only when governments lead with a strong vision, supported by donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a collaborative effort, will large-scale impact be achievable. In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), new approaches are bringing the government together with these groups – and seeing greater collaboration between donors in support of government efforts.

Leaders in the DRC have committed to overhauling the country’s dozens of supply chains, developing a highly-functioning, efficient system capable of reaching even the most remote populations. The terrain and sheer size of the DRC make this uniquely challenging. Health officials recognize that traditional supply chain models are not sufficient, and are actively seeking new approaches. But they cannot do it alone. VillageReach is one of many organizations supporting the government’s quest to develop, test, implement and scale strategies that can improve this essential mechanism for providing healthcare.

In 2015, the DRC Ministry of Health wanted greater…

Reflections on the WHO Director General's Four Priorities for Health in a New Era

One of the highlights of University of Washington’s symposium celebrating ten years in global health was seeing the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan. Dr. Chan was charming as ever, with a spring in her step and a smile on her face. Perhaps it is because she is nearing the end of her term (her successor will be chosen during the upcoming World Health Assembly) that despite moments of levity, her words had a more sobering ring.

Dr. Chan painted a complex picture of the world in which global health professionals work.  We are confronting new diseases and old diseases, dealing with post-antibiotics and post-truth. She warned the attendees that some believe a long-standing social contract has been broken and “we are now living in a world that has lost its moral compass”. Before we could wallow in our collective struggle, Dr. Chan laid out four priorities to help guide health policies and programs.  Here’s what they mean for our work at VillageReach.

Tackle Inequality In collaboration with our partners, VillageReach strives to increase access to quality healthcare in the most underserved communities, where we have seen inequality impede our progress…

Waiting for Immunization No Longer

Version française

As someone who has dedicated his life to public health, I am thrilled to see Africa’s leaders making a bold commitment in support of immunization. The African Union endorsement of the  Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) demonstrates that vaccines, and the proper health systems to deliver them, play a significant role in the future of our continent.

Measles and many other diseases preventable by vaccination have a devastating potential. Even a few years ago, rural communities had a saying: to know how many children you have in your household, wait for the measles. Measles epidemics have decimated children in times past. This was the case of the Mankanza territory in the province of Equateur, located 220km from the provincial capital, Mbandaka, and accessible only by water. Many, many children were buried because the measles vaccine had not yet come to their communities until 1996. The few survivors can still recall the impact of these measles epidemics. Even with sub-optimal immunization coverage, once the vaccine came, no epidemics occurred.

Many remote communities like Equateur province, where I am responsible for administrative management of the health system, continue to ensure the vaccination of children to prevent under…

L'attente de la vaccination est finie

English Version

Comme quelqu’un qui a consacré sa vie à la santé publique, je suis ravie que les dirigeants Africains se soient engagé ardemment à soutenir la vaccination. L’adhésion de l’Union Africaine à la Déclaration d’Addis-Abeba sur la vaccination démontre que les systèmes de santé adéquats pour la livraison des vaccins jouent un rôle important dans l’avenir de notre continent.

Les maladies évitables par la vaccination—tel que la rougeole—ont des conséquences catastrophiques. Il y a quelques années, les habitants de plusieurs communautés rurales en RDC disaient :« il faut attendre le passage de l’épidémie de rougeole pour savoir combien d’enfants tu as dans ton ménage ». Dans le passé, ces épidémies étaient responsables de la mort de nombreux enfants. Cela a été le cas du territoire de Mankanza dans la Province d’Equateur en RDC. Mankanza se situe à 220 km de Mbandaka (chef-lieu de la province) et est une zone totalement riveraine. Le vaccin contre la rougeole a été mis à disposition vers les année 1996. Dans les années précédentes, cette maladie aujourd’hui évitable a emporté des milliers…

Puzzle Pieces: How data, trucks and fridges can help deliver the African Union's Commitment

Versão português

With the endorsement of the Addis Declaration on Immunisation, African leaders demonstrated their commitment to life-saving immunizations.  The Declaration names a number of components – ten, in fact – crucial to realizing the full benefits of immunization.  But there are many more pieces in the day-to-day work of getting vaccines to children.  These are the pieces I think about as I do my part in reaching global vaccine goals.

Depending on the day, I’m thinking about things like this:

These are all pieces of a puzzle – just like the political will generated by the African Union — needed to fulfil the promise of immunising every child in my province of Niassa.  Niassa is Mozambique’s most sparsely populated province, with an estimated 1.7 million people.  Trucks carrying vaccines must travel 4,583 kilometers a month on average, or 230 kilometers each day to reach the 171 health centers.  So trucks are important. When they aren’t available, or properly maintained that’s a problem for us.  The same is true with data.  Without sufficient data, we had limited insight into what vaccines were needed at what health centers.  I’m very proud of the…

Pedaços do quebra-cabeça: Como é que os dados, os camiões e as geleiras podem contribuir para cumprir com o Compromisso da União Africana

English Version

Com a aprovação da Declaração de Adis Abeba sobre a Imunização, os líderes africanos manifestaram o seu compromisso para com as imunizações que salvam vidas. A Declaração indica várias componentes – de fato dez – que são decisivas para realizarem-se os plenos benefícios da imunização. Mas existem muitos mais elementos no trabalho quotidiano de fazer chegar as vacinas às crianças. Estes são os pedaços nos quais penso enquanto dou a minha contribuição para alcançar as metas para as vacinas a nível mundial.

Dependendo do dia, estou a pensar em coisas tais como as seguintes:

Estes são todos pedaços dum quebra-cabeça – igualmente como o é a vontade política gerada pela União Africana – necessários para cumprir com a promessa de imunizar todas as crianças na minha Província de Niassa. Niassa é a província mais escassamente povoada de Moçambique, com umas estimadas 1,7 milhões de habitantes. Os camiões carregando as vacinas têm que percorrer por média 4583 quilómetros por mês, ou seja, 230 quilómetros em cada dia, para chegar…

Ponto de vista sobre terceirização

Em Moçambique, um grupo de parceiros tem trabalhado em colaboração com o governo para melhorar o acesso aos medicamentos na última milha. Uma abordagem inovadora reuniu os conhecimentos da VillageReach, Médicos Sem Fronteiras (MSF) e de uma empresa local 3PL, Confiança Absoluta, para apoiar a meta do governo provincial de Tete, de alcançar as comunidades mais remotas com vacinas e medicamentos contra o HIV. Essa abordagem, chamada de Terceirização dos Serviços de Transporte (TST), usou o sector privado para distribuir vacinas, medicamentos contra o HIV, e kits médicos para os serviços de saúde. Um novo estudo explora o potencial desta abordagem, enquanto o governo está projetando expandir de um projeto piloto para a província completa e além.

De acordo com o Sr. Fidelio Mupeze, chefe provincial do Programa Alargado de Vacinação (PAV) em Tete, esta abordagem é importante “porque irá garantir a disponibilidade destes recursos ao nível mais baixo, nas zonas rurais, e consequentemente melhorar a saúde da população”. Utilizando uma empresa do sector privado para completar as entregas e a coleta de dados, o TST melhorou “a disponibilidade de produtos, muitas vezes, no momento…

Combining Sectors, Partners and Products for Last Mile Impact

Collaboration is at the heart of a unique public-private initiative to increase availability for a range of health products in Mozambique. Tete provincial health authorities, Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and VillageReach have partnered with the private sector company Confianca Absoluta to bring HIV medicines, vaccines and medical kits to rural health clinics. A new case study looks at the first six months of this initiative. It outlines the details of the partnership, benefits to date including increased availability and efficiency, and considerations for governments interested in outsourcing as a way to improve transport for essential medicines.

The Transport Services Solution, or TSS, was built on the foundation of a strong partnership. From the outset, a common agenda was set with clear roles and responsibilities assigned. Each partner fills a specific need within the project, but works collectively to continuously improve the distribution system.

Many outsourcing projects involve large multinational companies, which can offer less perceived risk – but in this case, a local distributor was purposefully chosen. This decision adds value back to the community, according to Tinne Gils, the Regional Pharmacist from MSF: “The successful implementation working with a local distributor means that in addition to increasing medicine…

Thank You for Your Support

With the New Year upon us, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the most important milestones that you, our partners and donors, have helped us to achieve this past year. With your support, we are reaching more people, proving the potential of emerging innovation, and working with new partners to increase access to quality healthcare at the last mile.
Reaching More

Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF, or “Health Center by Phone”) expanded to three additional districts in Malawi, reaching an additional 400,000 people, and ensuring that mothers like Patuma have access to health information, advice and care, no matter where they live. Airtel remains central to this growth as we work with the Ministry of Health towards national scale-up. New ventures like CCPF for Adolescents and collaboration with Johnson & Johnson are helping to enhance the quality of the service and expand its
potential to reach and serve more.

The second class of pharmacy assistants graduated! Students and graduates now work in districts reaching 99% of the population in Malawi.  With a pharmacy assistant, frontline health workers spend more time with patients, medicines are managed more effectively, and the quality of care is…

A Mother's Journey

I recently returned from a trip to Malawi where I had the opportunity to visit several families who have benefited from Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, or Health Center by Phone, a toll-free health hotline in Malawi that connects individuals directly with trained health workers who provide information, advice and referrals over the phone. One of those visits was with the Richards family who live in Kazondo Village in Balaka, a district in southern Malawi.

As I traveled on the long dirt road to their home, there were fewer and fewer houses.  When we finally made it to the end of the road, I was greeted by Patuma, her husband, and their five children, including 5-year-old Pricilla. Until recently, Pricilla suffered from Epistaxis, frequent nose bleeds exacerbated by hot weather and malnutrition. Like many people in her village, Patuma’s family does not have transportation, and the nearest health facility is more than an hour’s journey away on foot.  Patuma and Pricilla have made this journey several times in the past few months. Patuma told me about a recent trip where Priscilla began to vomit blood and they set out once again on the long trip to…

World AIDS Day: Innovation and Partnership

HIV has a profound impact on communities around the world and the health systems that serve them. Many remote, underserved communities feel the heavy burden of the HIV epidemic and can face substantial challenges in accessing health services. New approaches, systems and technologies have the potential to strengthen these systems and provide greater access to quality healthcare in these last mile communities.
As a global health innovator, VillageReach is dedicated to identifying, testing and scaling these potential solutions, which can be leveraged to support the global fight against HIV. World AIDS Day gives us a moment to reflect on our work with partners and governments that contributes to the reduction of HIV, particularly at the last mile.

Chipatala cha pa Foni: The Impact of Information
Connecting with a healthcare professional in a rural community can often mean walking many kilometers – a trip which can be an obstacle to women seeking information to keeping their children healthy. Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) is a mobile health hotline that allows these women to connect to the health information they need. Elina wanted to protect her newborn daughter from contracting HIV and was given Bactrim to do just that, but upon her return…

Global Thinking: The 2016 Global Health Supply Chain Summit

The annual Global Health Supply Chain Summit brings together supply chain professionals from all over the globe to discuss and share important trends in global health and the supply chains that support global health efforts. Last year, the big ideas from the event reinforced critical components of our work to improve health supply chains: public-private partnerships, system design, and data for management.
This year’s summit provided another great opportunity for VillageReach and our ministry partners to share our experiences, to learn from others, and to identify important trends shaping the global health supply chain community. The VillageReach team reflects on some of these trends below.

The Meaning of Integration

The theme of this year’s summit was “integrating global health supply chains for sustainable health outcomes” – a hot topic as governments and donors try to find efficient ways to share resources across traditionally vertical supply chains. But the meaning of integration is not always clear:

Olivier Defawe, Senior Manager: Integration does not necessarily mean integrating a whole vertical supply chain with another vertical supply chain. By explaining the notion of integration as “opportunistic resource sharing,” participants walked away with a broader concept of integration. It is also important…

Laying the Groundwork in DRC

For the past month, I’ve been in Democratic Republic of Congo working to further establish and expand VillageReach’s presence in the country. I’ve also been preparing for a workshop to present the preliminary results of a supply chain modeling exercise that will help key stakeholders identify opportunities for improvement. In the process, I’ve been making the rounds to all our partners, and a key question about our work keeps coming up:
What is taking so long?!?

It’s true: VillageReach began work here in 2015 with an evaluation of the health supply chain in Equatuer and Tshuapa Provinces, and we have been studying the public health supply chain ever since. We aren’t expecting to implement any on-the-ground activities to improve supply chain performance for another six months, when we will begin with a small-scale pilot. So what have we been doing here for the past year and a half? Great question.
We’ve been using a system design approach  to identify and understand the persistent challenges that prevent vaccines and medicines from getting to patients at the right time, in the right quantity, and in good condition. System design is a process…

Leading by Example: Mackson's Clinic

Having just returned from a visit to Malawi and Mozambique, I had the opportunity to meet with many health workers who contribute to and shape VillageReach’s work at the last mile. Most of them  work in incredibly rural and remote locations, challenged by many of the barriers we talk about most frequently at the last mile – lack of infrastructure, human resources, information, and access to medicines. One of the health workers that made an indelible impression on me was Mackson Khalawako. Mackson joined VillageReach in September 2008 as a Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA). In this role, he serves a population of around 1,000 from two villages: Bakili and Makande. In addition to the health surveillance assistant’s duties facilitating community clinics for vaccinations, growth monitoring and health education, Mackson also helped to implement and continues to run a village clinic for children under 5.

VillageReach supports HSAs as part of the Kwitanda Community Health Project which aims to address healthcare through a community-led and managed approach, supporting health interventions that address the most critical needs of the community. I caught up with Mackson at the Bisani clinic for children under five, held in a small, two-room…

Understanding (with) SELV

OpenLMIS, SELV, iSC. To most people these acronyms don’t mean much. To me, they tell a story of getting vaccines to the most remote communities in Mozambique. Sistema Electronico de Logstica de Vacinas (SELV) is the local name of a software used to record information about where vaccines need to go and how they are going to get there – an implementation of OpenLMIS, a logistics management information system (LMIS). As the Information Systems Officer at VillageReach, it’s my job to provide technical assistance and support for this critical software.  The BETA version of  OpenLMIS 3.0 was launched last week, representing a major milestone in the evolution of software that continues to demonstrate the import and impact of robust information systems at the last mile.
Over the last few weeks, my colleagues and I traveled to five provinces around Mozambique to talk about SELV. In some provinces like Cabo Delgado, SELV is an established tool. In others like Maputo City, SELV is brand new. VillageReach and the Ministry of Health are just beginning to expand the reach of SELV to all eleven provinces, so this trip provided me an opportunity to meet stakeholders, introduce myself as a resource…

OpenLMIS 3.0 Beta is Here!

Reposted from OpenLMIS

The OpenLMIS Community is pleased to announce the beta release of OpenLMIS 3.0!
The initial offering to come out of the re-architecture effort for OpenLMIS, 3.0 Beta contains one slice of functionality, Requisitions, based on an all-new micro-service architecture. This release is the first to utilize the new architecture and is a strong step in the direction of “shared investment, shared benefit” that is the primary mission of the OpenLMIS Community. 3.0 Beta is a proof-of-concept for this architecture and is not a feature-complete release. It does not contain every feature that the eventual 3.0 OpenLMIS stable release will, and further features will be added to the system as we work toward the full 3.0 release scheduled for the end of February, 2017.
Please reference the Living Product Roadmap for the high-level estimated release schedule through version 3.3, and read the 3.0 Beta Release Notes for further details. Visit the OpenLMIS GitHub page to view the 3.0 Beta code repository.

Early contributions to OpenLMIS by PATH, USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Commission on Life-Saving…

A Welcome Disruption

It was a bit of serendipity when the young woman’s phone started buzzing. Normally at a conference, a phone call or a text message would be an embarrassing disruption, but not this time. This interruption came as twenty young women gathered to share their personal stories. Some had children, some were sex workers, others had dropped out of school. These women were representatives of the many young women around Zomba and Machinga Districts in Malawi who face challenges in accessing quality reproductive health services, providing real faces to the broader issue at hand.

This text message was received at the DREAMS Innovation Challenge Ambassador Workshop in Blantyre, Malawi – where I represented VillageReach as one of the 56 winners chosen to find new, innovative ways to reduce the impact of HIV on women and girls. This workshop brought together Innovation Challenge winners from around Malawi, as well as this group of young women. We were all there to learn and share, creating new connections while underscoring the importance and urgency of this work.

The young woman quietly raised her hand, pausing the ongoing discussion to share the contents on her phone. The text she received was from Chipatala cha pa…

First Time at the Last Mile

Today marks my second day of a two-week tour to visit the VillageReach offices in Malawi and Mozambique. My mission? To get a firsthand perspective of the “last mile” and document our work through the words and stories of those who benefit directly from VillageReach programs. Unlike most of our program staff who travel regularly to the field, this is my first time traveling to Africa. I came as prepared as I could, following all the recommendations from the travel clinic, purchasing electric chargers and outlet converters, buying out all of the bug repellent at my local drugstore, and overpacking. But today, all of these preparations and details that I’ve been so focused on for the past few weeks seem insignificant in light of the experiences I’m having — and will continue to have over the next two weeks.

Today, we spent all day traveling to several hospitals and clinics throughout Lilongwe, Malawi. I met Hawa, a 20-year-old woman who was recovering from fistula surgery made possible through contact with VillageReach’s mobile health hotline, CCPF. She told us how grateful she is for CCPF because she can now lead a normal life again, free from…

Driven by Data

In 1972, The UN General Assembly agreed to mark October 24 each year as World Development Information Day in order to draw the world’s attention to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, and thus, promote efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.
At VillageReach, the last mile of delivery is the first mile of information. Data is the pulse that drives our work – the fundamental core of our programming strategy. Without information, we are working in a state of assumptions and half-truths, and fervently hoping we are right. Want evidence of this principle? Of the four blog posts we published this month alone, three focus directly on information – what goes into collecting it, the insight it provides, and an example of how it all comes together!

World Development Information Day’s aim it is to ultimately promote efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development by means of information. VillageReach embraced that spirit fully while participating in the global working group on data for management of the immunization supply chain…

Reflections on RHSC 2016

Last week, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) brought together hundreds of the top minds in global reproductive health issues at the Coalition’s 17th Annual Meeting. This meeting provided a forum for discussing the many triumphs and continuing challenges of reaching 120 million additional women with reproductive health services by the year 2020. Access to reproductive health commodities allows women to decide if and when to have children. This ability is not only a human right, it can be a life or death situation for many women and young girls. Increasing access to reproductive health is also one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to reduce infant and maternal deaths.  As an active member of the RHSC’s System Strengthening Working Group, VillageReach eagerly engaged in this week of conversation and idea exchange. Many of the central themes reflect the work of VillageReach, allowing us to bring our experience and expertise to the conversation while learning and growing from the experiences of our partners.

Why is the Last Mile so critical to the supply chain?
Establishing an effective health system necessarily requires strengthening the system all the way to the end user. Effective supply chains are no…

Putting the "C" in ICT4D - A Developer's Insights from the Field

Communication is constant and ubiquitous – something we do with nary a thought throughout our lives. It’s so natural in fact that we tend to take it for granted. After all, when was the last time you engaged in a meta-conversation about the efficacy of a discussion you just finished? Alternatively, when did you last work on improving your lexis or grammar? If you’re like me, it’s been a while. Because our communication styles seem perfectly adequate for our daily personal lives, we tend to focus on more pressing concerns. For a technologist, that likely involves implementing some aspect of a project… and failing. Lack of communication is often the problem.

Software shops don’t tend to advertise it, but programming and IT are risky business. An IBM study found that nearly 60 percent of projects fail and that human, rather than technological, factors play a dominant role. Miscommunication is among the surest ways to kill a project. Sponsors may be misinformed about progress and withdraw support after subsequent disappointment. Business analysts may misunderstand users’ needs, developers may misinterpret analysts’ requirements, and because software development is often a collaborative endeavor, developers may even misunderstand one another. A…

Drugs, Data & Dashboards: It’s Not So Simple

Simple ideas can be powerful – a point driven home during my recent trip to Uganda. While I was there, I had the opportunity to tour the Ugandan national medical stores, where medicines for the entire country are warehoused. The head of sales and marketing showed me how each and every commodity that the Government of Uganda procures is marked as a way to safeguard against theft. Every layer of packaging is embossed: “GOVERNMENT OF UGANDA. PUBLIC USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE.” Even individual tablets are marked “UG.” The government builds this requirement into its procurement contracts with suppliers. I walked away completely floored. What a simple yet brilliant idea to solve a persistent supply chain problem.

For the duration of my trip, I asked everyone I could: “Have you seen the marked drugs? What do you think? Is it working?” The answer was a little more complicated than I had hoped for: “Yes. But…” Most people agreed that marking the drugs did cut down on theft and there have been several high profile cases where the discovery of marked drugs for sale led to arrests. But more than anything, marking drugs didn’t completely stop theft, it just became easier…

The Outside-In Perspective

In late August, VillageReach welcomed a team of Wharton Business School students to work on a short-term pro bono consulting project, aiming to develop a diversification strategy for VillageReach in Mozambique.  Although the team spent only nine days on the ground in Maputo, the project had been months in the making, starting with an initial dialogue between Ruth Bechtel, the Mozambique Country Director, and Wharton team leader Joelle Birge back in fall 2015. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, these four students were inspired to travel to Mozambique by their common interest in international development and global health. Joelle describes the work this team accomplished:
Project planning began with a series of calls between VillageReach and the Wharton team to refine the project scope and map out work plans and deliverables. Together with VillageReach, we decided that one of the best ways to leverage the team’s time in Maputo would be conducting interviews with public health stakeholders to gain an outside-in perspective on current areas of need and opportunity.  Over the course of the spring and early summer, we conducted research on donors, NGOs and government organizations operating in Mozambique public health and used this research to…

Evidence, Evidence, Evidence, and Other Proven Advice for Radically Improving an Immunization Supply Chain

While visiting rural health units outside Montepuez district in Mozambique, I met a mother at Naioto clinic. It had taken her two hours to get to the facility, with a baby on her back. She was happy to stand in a queue for vaccines for her baby because vaccines were available. The nurse at the clinic, Ana Bendita Miguel, remembers times when she had to turn these mothers away. Prior to ensuring regular, monthly distribution of the provincial delivery truck, it wasn’t uncommon for Bendita to ride a bus to the district centre, a difficult trip of 68km to collect vaccines. In addition to taking Bendita away from seeing patients at the clinic, the bus fare cost her 240 MZN (around $3.30), which was not refunded. In those days she said, “when I didn’t have money for bus fare, I couldn’t prevent the stockout.”

Each day for the last three years, our team at VillageReach has focused on supporting the Mozambican government to ensure availability of immunizations for children who are brought to any health unit in the country. We have done this by implementing improved vaccine delivery systems; increasing data visibility and utilization; exploring options…

Med25: Celebrating Future Partnerships

VillageReach is always seeking out new ways to improve access to quality healthcare at the last mile, and new partners that allow us to do this. Over the weekend, VillageReach president Evan Simpson presented at the Med25 Benefit dinner. Med25 is an exciting global health organization that provides quality, culturally appropriate and affordable health care by encouraging the creation of local, income-generating businesses that support healthcare initiatives. Together, VillageReach and Med25 are partnering to explore how the Med25 model can be brought to new communities. At this recent event, Evan Simpson shared his insights on the potential impact of this partnership:

“I wanted to share a story that has had a personal impact on me, and underscores the importance of Med25 and VillageReach. I have previously spent a lot of time working in western Kenya, just up the road from where Med25 has a project. I spent a lot of time working with community health volunteers, primarily on diarrheal disease, which is a major killer of children in these communities. Over time, I got to know these community health volunteers, and as we were concluding a month-long project, one of them – a woman named Alice – shared with me…

Keeping the Wheels of Change Moving

Transformational change does not always happen overnight. In the case of immunization supply chains (iSC), real transformational change requires iteration. It is a process of continuous improvement: cycles of thinking, testing, and improving to constantly push the system forward. While the final result might be a complete redesign of the end-to-end supply chain, each step along the way is a necessary part of getting to a better model. Sometimes the wheels of change move quickly, when political will is aligned with resources and capacity. Sometimes the wheels move more slowly, during phases of learning and refining new ways of doing things. With any large-scale change, the key is to never stop moving forward.

With our partner, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), VillageReach recently facilitated an immunization supply chain system design workshop – a first big push towards moving the iSC model forward in Zambia. A week full of dialogue and sharing helped introduce concepts like modeling, build stakeholder buy-in, and “grease the wheels” of inspiration. Participants brainstormed new ideas for both immediate and long-term changes, including a few “crazy” ones. Some of these ideas are already well-defined; others require further development before…

Outsourcing Transport and Logistics in Global Health

Reposted from Next Billion
Vehicle graveyards are an all-too-common sight for those of us who work in global health. These long-forgotten vehicles serve as reminders to the underlying obstacles faced by transport systems throughout Africa. Routine maintenance required to keep cars, trucks and motorcycles moving simply does not happen, shortening the lifespan of the vehicles that are essential to delivering health commodities to the most remote communities.
For the donor community, these vehicle graveyards are a reminder of the weak return on investment for these expensive, short-lived machines. Many institutions are declining to fund the capital expenditure required to purchase vehicles, parts or storage facilities. Insufficient capital is just one of the contributing factors limiting the transport capacity of a health system.

Therefore, governments and donors alike are identifying new ways to improve health supply chains and the transport systems they rely on.
In a previous post, I laid out the benefits and risks of private-sector involvement in health transport networks. Outsourcing transport and logistics can provide a lower cost of service, utilizing the core expertise of for-profit ventures. These companies must continually improve the quality of their service to attract and retain customers…

Waiting: Discovering and Addressing Inefficiencies in Malawi

One hundred and thirty minutes. That’s just over two hours. It’s a long time to wait to see a doctor no matter where you are in the world. Then after waiting for two hours, patients talk to a healthcare provider for less than 2 minutes – 140 seconds – before they are back out the door. These are the average times spent waiting for and with healthcare providers in a rural health center in Malawi, where a recent study examined the flow of patients to help uncover opportunities for improvement.

Malawi, like many low-income countries, faces a severe shortage of health workers. In a country of more than 16 million people, there are only 302 doctors – that’s more than 50,000 people for every one doctor. Because of these shortages, most health centers in Malawi rely on lower-level health workers to provide services. These workers share responsibilities far beyond patient care, so it important to find new, low-resource ways to support them in providing the highest quality service possible.

For example, this study highlighted the challenge of managing medicines and maintaining medicine availability in understaffed health centers. Not only did patients spend more than two hours…

Many "Firsts"

Having been in my new role as President of VillageReach only a few weeks, each day is filled with new “firsts.”  First staff meeting, first attempt to work the phone system (failed), first presentation (so-so). Among them was my first—but certainly not last—Final Mile Logistics Working Group Happy Hour hosted by Lynden International. At VillageReach, we focus on increasing access to quality healthcare for those living in the most difficult-to-reach and underserved communities where basic, routine health care delivery is a huge challenge.  For us, supply chain and logistics are essential elements of addressing that challenge, so it was great to meet and talk with representatives and leading thinkers from Puget Sound-area companies and our WGHA colleagues who share our interest, have a passion for new ideas, and apply them on a global scale.  Who better to help us think through the challenges and opportunities of last mile delivery?
 My colleague, Dr. Olivier Defawe, gave a presentation on VillageReach’s work to develop the capability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka “drones”) to deliver vaccines and other essential medicines and devices to the vast roadless areas of sub-Saharan Africa.  It’s an innovation early…

Emerging Threats, Emerging Technologies: The Need for Evidence

As a global health innovator, VillageReach invests great time and effort in exploring how new technologies can be applied to address existing heath systems challenges. Often, this means considering how health system improvements can be leveraged to solve more than one problem at a time. Take, for instance, the emerging Zika virus threat: while VillageReach does not coordinate emergency disease response, our work improving routine transport of medical commodities could be used to strengthen emergency efforts. Similarly, emerging and innovative technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly referred to as drones) could add to this comprehensive approach to healthcare improvement.

Working with new partners and new problems allows us to expand our thinking around these innovative technologies. We’ve recently returned from a co-creation workshop convened by USAID where donors, technology providers and global health agencies gathered to discuss the application and potential impact of UAVs in the response to Zika and other emerging threats. While we did hear about proposed strategies for targeting specific disease vectors (mosquitos), one common thread ran through the discussions with which VillageReach is quite familiar: the essential role of reliable routine systems in supporting emergency disease response.
With the additional capabilities and…

Beyond "Good Enough": System Design in Zambia

Immunization supply chains have not changed much since they were first conceived in the 1970’s. Most ad-hoc efforts to improve these systems, like increasing storage or transportation capacity, have not been effective in dealing with modern day demands on these systems. It is estimated that between 2010 and 2020, immunization services will require twice the storage and transport capacity to manage four times the vaccines. With this unprecedented expansion, workers at all levels of the supply chain feel the burden of supply chain inefficiencies. This extra burden, particularly at the service delivery points, results in low vaccine coverage rates at the last mile. Supply chain managers are beginning to challenge the status quo of their supply chains and embrace innovative approaches for improved performance.
VillageReach, along with CIDRZ and the Zambian Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), held a workshop last week in Lusaka to take a holistic look at immunization supply chain (iSC) in Zambia. This workshop brought together national EPI programs managers, decision makers and key stakeholders to identify potential options to make the iSC more efficient.

Exploring system design is a necessary part of transformational changes in Zambia. Rather than narrowly focusing on aspects of the…

When Health Workers Need a Helpline

Malawi has made incredible strides over the past few years to reduce morbidity and mortality, specifically among women and children under 5 years old. Key to this success has been a focus on using community health workers, known in Malawi as Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs), to push direct healthcare services throughout the most rural, hard-to-reach, quintessential last mile communities. As a result, people who otherwise may not have reached a health facility can now access basic services from their HSA—sometimes even in their own homes. At the same time, however, more HSAs work in isolation or as the only person from their cadre within their area, with little interaction with colleagues, supervisors or other healthcare providers.

HSAs are typically responsible for areas of around 1,000 people each, often from two to three neighboring villages. HSAs live and work in these areas to better serve their clients, but this limits their access to information and advice from colleagues and supervisors. Similarly, rural health centers are run by medical assistants who have two years of post-secondary school education and are typically the only medical assistant or clinical officer at their site. Better communication and coordination between healthcare…

Big Questions: Understanding UAVs at the Last Mile

Often when we talk about methods of delivery in low-resource environments, we are referring to simple solutions. Health commodities arrive at rural clinics on trucks, by bicycle or motorbike, by foot, and sometimes even by boat or canoe. These traditional delivery methods are often faced with simple, but insurmountable barriers. Roads are washed out or are in poor repair. Vehicles are not properly maintained or require expensive fuels. Routes pass through potentially dangerous areas with threatening wildlife. Trying to find new, innovative solutions for these problems has lead VillageReach to UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles. Last week, I presented at the first meeting of the Final Mile Logistics Working Group, providing an overview of UAVs and the potential they have for filling the delivery gap in global development.

UAVs, better known as drones, have been used for many years for military and humanitarian purposes. In recent years, the popularity of civilian drones has skyrocketed, and civilian drones now outnumber their military cousins. Along with gaining ground in popular culture, more organizations are interested in how UAVs can play a role in low-resource environments. In global health, many of the potential new use cases require drones to carry more than…

Reaching Further: Upile Kachila

Bringing a program to scale can’t be done single-handedly. It requires the commitment of partners working collaboratively towards a common goal and a dedicated team to keep up momentum as new and unexpected challenges arise. Sometimes, key individuals drive a project forward. They find themselves in the unique position to motivate partners and steward the larger team. Upile Kachila is one of these people.

As the new VillageReach Technical Assistant seconded to the Malawi Ministry of Health, Upile is helping guide the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni program through the process of national scale-up. CCPF, or Health Center by Phone, provides easily accessible health information and referrals for over 1.3 million people in eight districts in Malawi. With dedicated partners like Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions and Airtel committed to the transition and scale up, in addition to the partners supporting the districts,  CCPF is continuing to expand both in scope and scale, with the goal of reaching every one of the 28 districts and all 16 million people. Upile will play a critical role, helping to lay the groundwork for a truly sustainable, country-wide service.
Working out of the Ministry of Health in the Central…

The Art of Connecting the Dots

Global health innovation requires us to think beyond an individual product – it’s about creating space for “last mile thinkers” to meet with the scientists and engineers whose work influences medicine availability and healthcare access in low- and- middle income countries. This is how VillageReach found itself on a stage next to representatives from GlaxoSmithKlein, Pfizer, Washington Global Health Alliance, and the Controlled Release Society, engaging in conversations about what medicine delivery means in the context of global health.
Tremendous time, resources, and efforts are invested in developing new, more effective medicines that can improve quality of life – some of these medical breakthroughs have promise to control or eliminate diseases that costs thousands of lives each year. But the challenge of delivering these innovations in low-resource settings remains a pervasive barrier to improving health care access and outcomes. New products have unintentionally strained fragile health systems. Health supply chains for example, designed decades ago, struggle today to deliver a wider range of medicines to larger populations. Infrastructure and human resource challenges limit the impact of these innovations. Life-saving medicines sit on shelves in a warehouse, or expire in broken refrigerators at a rural health facility – many of us…

What is a VAN?

If someone asked me “what’s a van?” in the US, I’d probably say a big-ish vehicle meant to efficiently move people and stuff from point A to point B. In Africa, these large people movers are called minibuses, kombis or any of a hundred other terms, except van. So when someone asks me about “VAN” in the African context, it means something very different. VAN is an acronym for “Visibility and Analytics Network.” In Nigeria, where VillageReach is working on the VAN project, it represents a new, more holistic approach to vaccine delivery and achieving a healthy, functioning supply chain. Though our VAN doesn’t have four wheels, it’s still purposefully designed to move things around more efficiently.

I come from the tech world, where there’s often a focus on the product to the exclusion of everything else. Large technology companies can get away with this… most of the time. However, in places where technology awareness and appetite is much less ubiquitous, it’s crucial to look at technology use in a more inclusive way: not just the product, but who will be using it, how they will be using it, and why they will…

Getting the Tail on the Donkey: Financial Flows in Vaccine Supply Chain Distribution

At the very least, the flow of funding in vaccine distribution systems is uncoordinated. Not knowing where money is going, when it will be allocated, and how much money will actually be available prevents effective distribution. Ensuring financial resources are efficient and accessible is vital to the success of delivering vaccines to the last mile, yet immunization program managers face a variety of financial bottlenecks, many of which are symptoms of deeper, underlying financial management challenges. A new policy paper, from VillageReach and the William Davidson Institute, explores these challenges in detail. At the heart of the matter, financial flow challenges force decision-making processes into a guessing game, where accuracy is about as certain as a round of “pin the tail on the donkey.”
From the very start, immunization program managers are blindfolded – they are asked to budget and conduct their activities in the face of uncertain financing at the national level. They are given no advanced insight into their true budget limit, so they have to guess. Many LMICs have unreliable revenue streams, and donors are often unable to make multi-year commitments, so even at the national level it can be unclear what the budget limit will…

Head-Breaker: The Vaccine Supply Chain in Equateur

In 2015, VillageReach conducted an assessment of the public health supply chain in two of the most remote and underserved provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the provinces of Equateur and Tshuapa. The results show that the health supply chain is a “casse-tête,” literally, a “head-breaker” – something so complicated and challenging it makes everyone’s head hurt. Equateur Province in particular presents daunting logistic challenges: not only is it isolated, but the “highway” in this region is the mighty Congo River. Medicines must first be transported on a plane or boat from the capital, Kinshasa to the provincial capital, Mbandaka, then another 10 days by boat to reach the zonal health office. From here, medicines are distributed by canoe, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot to the health centers that serve the local communities and sometimes even further, directly to where patients live.

In addition, the limited cell phone coverage (not to mention electricity) outside of Mbandaka creates a headache for health workers struggling to find out if the medicines they need are in stock. With frequent stockouts, it is not uncommon for health workers to make the long journey for supplies only to return empty handed…

Graduated Success: When Programs Leave the Nest

Graduation season is upon us. It’s a time of reflection for those about to embark on a new phase of their lives. For many this means entering the workforce for the first time, a pivotal life moment.  At VillageReach, we recently celebrated the graduation of the second cohort of pharmacy assistants. Once deployed, these 85 graduates will begin careers as employees of the Malawi Ministry of Health and will be placed in rural, public-sector health facilities across Malawi. The 85 graduates will join their previous cohort who are already working in the field and making significant improvements in the quality of medicines management and patient care at the last mile. But this recent event is not the only graduation we’re celebrating.

The Pharmacy Assistant Training Program has reached its own “graduation” of sorts. As VillageReach transitions from leading implementer to technical advisor, others – government, donors and additional implementation partners – are now working to manage and fund the program at scale. Last month, VillageReach convened more than 35 program stakeholders, inclusive of the Malawi Ministry of Health, USAID | DELIVER, Malawi College of Health Sciences, and Imperial Health Sciences, to determine the strategy for meeting the Ministry’s goal…

Championing the Next Generation of Immunization Supply Chains in West Africa

In 2014, published a list of the 10 jobs that will be the most sought in Africa in the near future. It comes as no surprise that logistics and supply chain management related jobs made it to the list, identifying supply chain managers as a driving force of economic growth in Africa.

After attending the recent Immunization Supply Chain Leadership Conference in Abidjan, I felt that this was also true for the public health sector. The eleven African countries represented were all speaking with one voice: they need the right person at the right place to lead the next generation of immunization supply chains (iSC).

Universal vaccine access is a global health necessity in Africa, as vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the deaths of millions of children. Rightfully, Ministers of Health all over the continent gathered in Addis Ababa in February to reinforce their commitment to expand vaccine access to every person on the continent. Recognizing this goal cannot be achieved without proper supply chains or supply chain managers, conference participants built on this commitment to develop a Call to Action requesting stronger engagement of decision makers to create a favorable environment for…

From Togo to Mozambique: 5000 Kilometers as the Crow Flies

The differences between West Africa and Southern Africa are well known, even if partially built on generalizations and stereotypes. There are personality differences, language differences, different foods and ways to eat, different and distinct rhythms heard in discotecas. While regions and individual countries are culturally unique throughout Africa, many share the same challenges and goals when it comes to improving their health systems. A few of these similarities stood out when the Ministry of Health in Mozambique hosted a team from the Ministry of Health in Togo this past week. The Togo team—Dr. Napo-Koura Gado Agarassi, Secretary General of the MoH; Dr. Ayi Hervé D’Almeida, Director of Procurement and Inventory Management; Dr. Amevegbe Kodjo Boko, National EPI Director, MoH, Togo – came to Mozambique to better understand how this country runs its supply chain for health commodities and what lessons can be learned between the two countries.

The Togo team got a better understanding of four innovative approaches to supply chain management and how these changes are having a positive impact in Mozambique:
1. An informed push system for the vaccine supply chain is operating in half of Mozambique. Locally called the Dedicated Logistics System (DLS), this supply…

Realizations on the Road to Reforming Immunization Supply Chains

In 2013, the Gates Foundation began working with five provincial governments in Mozambique, the national ministry of health, and VillageReach on a new system for delivering vaccines. The new system represented big changes over their current design. It takes a holistic approach – reconfiguring the transport system, re-assigning roles and responsibilities of personnel, obtaining and using data differently, and integrating supervision and cold chain maintenance into monthly vaccine distributions.

Your Support: Reaching More with CCPF

We are pleased to announce that the Johnson & Johnson Foundation has become one of the key partners in championing Chipitala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) as it advances towards national scale. The Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions is a known supporter of community-based health care solutions that strengthen the health workforce, save and improve the lives of women and children and prevent disease among the most vulnerable.

Closing the Gap: 3 Things I Would Like to See

Blog Summary: Dr. Ramos Mboane, Provincial Chief Medical Officer in Mozambique shares insights on the “Top 3” factors countries should focus on to make #vaccineswork
This post is part of the #ProtectingKids story roundup. Read all the stories here.

Looking to the Sky for Answers: Understanding the Cost of UAVs at the Last Mile

BLOG: Last week, the first field tests of UAV prototypes for HIV test transport were conducted in Malawi. VillageReach is conducting a study to explore how much it would cost for these drones to transport the samples and results needed for early infant diagnosis.

What do vaccines and vending machines have in common? Using data to improve vaccine delivery in Benin

A blog describing VillageReach work with AMP in Benin to implement OpenLMIS. In Benin, OpenLMIS collects critical supply chain data at the “last mile” of healthcare, where data visibility and accuracy is most important, providing a solid evidence base to inform decision makers on future national policies and support the data needs of Logivac+, an informed push distribution system for immunization commodities.

OpenLMIS 2.0 is Here!

Reposted from

One of the greatest challenges facing the health systems in emerging countries is the lack of regular, reliable data on products and services. In my first post as the new OpenLMIS Community Manager, I am truly happy to announce the release of version 2.0 of the open source electronic logistics management information system (eLMIS) software, OpenLMIS!

OpenLMIS is a cost-effective and widely customizable eLMIS solution built to address the data visibility challenges of low-resource environments. The 2.0 version release is a consolidation and stabilization of several major development branches of the product, including v1.0, eLMIS and 2.0-Mozambique, leading to a more stable, functional version of OpenLMIS.

From its first inception, OpenLMIS was developed as an open source product managed by a community of partners and contributors. Directors of the project have always kept in mind major Principles for Digital Development (ICT4D), thereby ensuring that OpenLMIS would adhere to best practices for technological development, and building a product that is a true solution for the needs of emerging health systems.

The 2.0 release is a major accomplishment, both for OpenLMIS partners, and for the global development community working to…

The Price of Regular Distribution: Fueling Our Investment in Rotavirus Vaccines

I was thrilled to witness President Nyusi launch the rotavirus vaccine in Mozambique last fall. Tens of thousands of little Mozambicans will be spared severe dehydration, even death, due to rotavirus-induced diarrhea – if the vaccine reaches them. And herein lies the problem.  When a vaccine sits in a national or district warehouse, a truck, or a broken “fridge,” it cannot save lives. 

Over a four-year period, the Mozambique government, supported by Gavi and its donors will spend over $19M to purchase the rotavirus vaccine. At roughly $3.50 per dose, it is one of the most expensive vaccines the country has ever helped purchase. To protect the investment in providing rotavirus and other vaccines for Mozambique’s children, we must ensure they are available when families visit health centers.

Mozambique has developed and implemented a new approach for vaccine distribution. This next-generation supply chain is now serving more than 500 health centers and eight million people. Vaccine availability in these health centers has increased from an average of 64 percent in 2011 to an average of over 95 percent today.  Investments in data, people, and infrastructure are all required for these gains.  But one of the biggest…

Leadership: The magic bullet of immunization supply chains?

A lot of attention is currently being paid to immunization supply chains (iSC) and how to improve their performance in order to absorb new vaccine introductions and leverage new technologies, all while being efficient and effective. It’s no small task. And generally, the conversation centers around the concrete components of the supply chain, such as cold chain equipment, shifting tasks to reduce the burden on health workers, or optimizing transport loops.

The one thing that is often left out of the iSC conversation is leadership and the political will to drive that change to have a more efficient supply chain that ensures every child gets those needed vaccines. As we have seen in Mozambique and in other countries, the importance of leadership and effective management cannot be underestimated.
…  “leaders must be the driving force to define a new vision for the iSC and empower others to get behind that vision”
To advance the change to a streamlined, dynamic and data-driven system for the iSC, leaders must be the driving force to define a new vision for the iSC and empower others to get behind that vision to move it forward. They must be willing to question the status…

2016: Time to Take Stock

BLOG: VillageReach commitment to eliminate stockouts via the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition take stock campaign.

The Role of Paper to Digital Data Solutions

In response to this article by Dr. Mahad Ibrahim on the role of data during the Ebola outbreak, some interesting questions were sparked among our team. The piece evoked a lot of great insights about the opportunities and challenges the piece addresses, as well as how we see those topics evidenced in our VillageReach work. This topic is of particular interest to us, as we and our partners at the University of Washington are actively developing and testing an open-source tool for paper to digital data conversion, ODK Scan. ODK Scan is an Android app that uses a smartphone’s camera and custom image recognition processing to automatically digitize information from paper forms. Our work with ODK Scan and our experience with digital tools in other programs has informed much of our understanding of this paper to digital question. Below are some general themes that regularly surface in our discussions, plus some specific examples from our experience.

Direct to digital tools often prove challenging in actual field use

The challenges that Dr. Ibrahim describes in direct-to-digital data collection are absolutely supported by our experience with various projects in this space, particularly in regards to duplication of data…

Expanding Leadership Capacity: The Next Phase of Growth for VillageReach

Like you, VillageReach is dedicated to positive change.  Given VillageReach’s long-term focus on strengthening the last mile of healthcare delivery and its strong track record of improving health outcomes for the most underserved communities, the organization has grown rapidly in response to increasing demand for our expertise from ministries of health, global health institutions, donors and partners.

As the organization expands, its internal roles and responsibilities must change with it.  At this critical juncture the VillageReach Board and I have decided to add more capacity to the leadership of VillageReach through the hire of a new President.   As a highly-engaged board member,  I will continue to advance the mission of VillageReach as a senior advisor.  The new President will join me and others on the VillageReach leadership team to work on these areas, as well as, to ensure VillageReach delivers beyond-expectation results.  We don’t view this change as replacing an existing person with a new one, but adding leadership capacity and depth to a rapidly growing organization.

Allen D. Wilcox…

2015: Year In Review

A yearly review of key accomplishments and a look to the year ahead, by VillageReach President Allen Wilcox

Addressing HIV and Immunization Needs From The Same Truck: A new public-private partnership aims to support HIV treatment at the last mile

Today the world recognizes World Aids Day – a day to unite in the fight against HIV and to support the millions of people around the globe living with HIV.
In conjunction with World Aids Day, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has published a new report – Empty Shelves, Come Back Tomorrow – evaluating the current incidence of HIV for four of the worst HIV-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Mozambique.  In the country, 11% of the adult population is HIV positive, but only 45% of those affected receive the required level of treatment.   As the report notes about Mozambique “… there is no funded regular last mile delivery and stockouts are seen at facility level.”
 “11% of the adult population is HIV positive, but only 45% of those affected receive the required level of treatment… there is no funded regular last mile delivery and stockouts are seen at facility level.”
Leveraging our last mile delivery experience in Mozambique and other countries, VillageReach is seeking to address this problem.  This week, in collaboration with the Tete Provincial Health Services Department, MSF, and commercial transporters, VillageReach launched a new public-private initiative to improve the availability of medical commodities at the last…

Recognition for "Next-generation" Supply Chain Innovation

Insights into The GHSCS Prize for “Supply Chain Excellence in Global Health in Low and Low-Middle Income Countries” – awarded to VillageReach’s Dedicated Logistics System in Mozambique (Nov. 2015).

2015 Global Health Supply Chain Summit: What’s NEXT?

A blog summarizing the key themes from the 2015 Global Health Supply Chain Summit.

mHealth Impact at Scale – What Does it Actually Cost?

Republished from the UN Foundation Blog: Global Connections

I often find myself playing the global health version of “if you were trapped on a desert island, which three things would you bring?” In my version, it’s “if you were the Ministry of Health, which three programs would you fund?” When I do this thought experiment, I often run into the exact same impossible questions cash-strapped ministries of health are forced to answer: Do I fund health workers or do I buy medicines? Do I fund treatment services or invest in preventative health programs? What will have the most impact? What will save the most lives? After a while, I do what any reasonable person faced with an unwinnable game does – I find a loophole.

The question “what does the health system need the most?” is extremely difficult to answer, so I replace it with an easier question – “how do we make programs with proven impact more cost-effective, so that we can better address and fund health system needs?” And this is the exact question VillageReach recently set out to answer with our study Scale Matters: A Cost-Outcome Analysis of an m-Health Intervention in Malawi.


International Perspectives on Strategies, Tools for Addressing Commodity Gaps

BLOG: A recap of lessons learned from the UNCoLSC “Workshop to Promote Exchange on Practices and Resources to Increase Access to the 13 Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health” , organized by VillageReach

IWG mHealth Capacity Building Workshop 2015

BLOG: A summary of our experience and key learning from IWG mHealth Capacity Building Workshop 2015, Nairobi.

Lessons Learned from Brazil's EPI Program

BLOG: This week, the team of VillageReach is participating in the “Jornadas de Saude” (Mozambique health fair). We attended today a very impactful presentation on successes and challenges on the introduction of multiple vaccines into the EPI program in countries with limited resources.

The Launch of Rotavirus in Mozambique

Today is a memorable day in Mozambique, the Rotavirus vaccine has been launched. This is a big milestone for all of us.

The Ministry of Health in partnership with the international development community has made a huge effort to distribute the vaccines across the country, revamp the cold chain system, trained their immunization personnel, produced and distributed the social mobilization material (TV/Radio spots, leaflets) all in time for TODAY!!!. On our side, The RESOLVE team was able to go to Niassa, Tete, Cabo Delgado and Manica to help with the logistics planning for the launch and to think about how to adapt the supply system with “Ideas malucas” (aka, crazy but good ideas). The local teams were very welcoming and fully engaged.

This represents, for all of us, another big learning curve that enriches the country’s experience for other vaccine introductions to come in the next few months (measles 2nd dose and polio injectable) as well as for future antigens.


About the Author
Diana Contreras is a GSK PULSE Volunteer. Through PULSE, GSK employees are matched to a non-profit organization for three or six months full-time, contributing their skills to solve healthcare challenges at home…

Data, Dashboards and Decisions – The Components of Building a Better Supply Chain

A blog about the expansion of OpenLMIS (SELV) in Mozambique and our expanding role in advocating for better data visibility and analytics as a key component of vaccine supply chain improvement.

Preparing for Rotavirus in Mozambique

How VillageReach used HERMES modeling to prepare for the introduction of Rotavirus in Mozambique.

Pemphero’s Story – A Day in the Life of a Health Surveillance Assistant

Blog from VillageReach Community Health Faciliator in Malawi, explaining the critical role of VillageReach-supported Health Surveilance Assistants and village clinics.

cold boxes in Mozambique

Inside the Warehouse – Vaccine “Accessories” and the complexity of the cold chain

Olivia Vargas is currently in Mozambique conducting a midline evaluation of the ColdTrace pilot program, a remote temperature monitoring system for vaccines currently operating in the southern portion of the Gaza Province where she recently visited a vaccine warehouse as inspiration for this blog.

Vaccines come with a lot of accessories. They are the friend that shows up with four suitcases for a weekend getaway. The friend that packs for every possible weather scenario, and the friend that takes the longest to get ready to leave the house. I learned this lesson while in the Mozambican province of Gaza. I got a tour of the provincial warehouse where all the vaccines are stored before they are distributed to district health centers and remote health posts.

Alberto Mabote, a field officer for VillageReach, was at the warehouse and walked me through all the different considerations that need to be made when storing and distributing vaccines. The warehouse has about 15 freezers, each with different kinds of vaccines – measles, BCG, polio etc. – that all need to be kept at a specific temperature. For example, the Measles, Mumps and Rubellla (MMR) vaccine needs to be stored between – 50 and -15 C, a temperature…

In The Lion's Den: Evaluating Africa's Most Innovative mHealth Solutions

Using mobile technology is a key component in USAID’s strategy to end preventable maternal and child deaths, called Acting on the Call . According to USAID, by using mobile technology to accelerate our rate of progress, we can save the lives of 15 million children and almost 600,000 women by 2020.  For the past four days, I’ve had the opportunity to explore how other countries and organizations are approaching this goal at the Africa Regional Meeting on Digital Health for Overcoming Barriers to Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths and Achieving Universal Health Coverage.
According to USAID, by using mobile technology to accelerate our rate of progress, we can save the lives of 15 million children and almost 600,000 women by 2020.

This meeting, (#DH4Africa) has become an annual gathering to explore how digital technology can impact health outcomes. The first meeting was held in Kigali in 2010, with subsequent gatherings in cities across Africa including Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, and this year in Lilongwe, Malawi. Over 15 African nations convened – including government leaders, NGOs, bilateral agencies, donors, and the private sector – to facilitate learning, share our work, ideas and questions around the most promising programs…

Five Lessons For Closing the Immunization Gap

Through our daily interactions with health workers and government partners, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges to achieving immunization equity, especially as new vaccines are being added to already strained systems.

Following are five important lessons I’ve learned which I believe will help close the immunization gap

You Can't Manage What You Can't See

Last week I was spending a lot of time with my colleague from UNICEF/Mozambique to create a distribution plan for the new cold chain equipment arriving soon for the vaccine supply chain. This is a great opportunity for the country to strengthen the cold chain to ensure vaccines are available and potent all the way to the last mile of delivery…

Scaling mHealth in Malawi - Something to Celebrate

This blog from VillageReach M&E Officer, Robert Saiti, describes the CCPF launch event that took place on March 12th. The expansion of CCPF means 65,000 more women and caregivers of young children will now have access to the service.

After the Storm

March’s arrival has brought a much-needed return to many of the essential services in northern Mozambique that the public health system and communities alike depend on.  In early January we reported on the devastating loss of both electricity and transport due to severe flooding throughout the region, including many of the communities we work with in neighboring Malawi.   Zambezia experienced some of the worst flooding in 44 years. Widespread destruction of transportation infrastructure left 70% of the province completely unreachable by land, cutting off the north half of the country from the south.
Destruction of transportation infrastructure left 70% of the province completely unreachable and many rural health facilities had no energy supply for more than a month.
Because of the flooding, many rural health facilities had no energy supply for more than a month, putting an incredible burden on the health clinics to administer care, and on the Ministry of Health to redistribute vaccines and other medicines to alternate storage facilities with refrigeration.

VillageReach teams contributed to the relief efforts, lending fuel and vehicles.  Our vehicles delivered beds, oral rehydration salts, pharmaceutical products and clean drinking water to cholera treatment centers. We also transported vaccines on a…

Lessons Learned from the Implementation of ANC Connect

BLOG: VillageReach, in partnership with CHAI, is currently piloting a new mHealth project aimed at increasing ANC participation among mothers in Malawi. The project, called ANC Connect, links pregnant women with health surveillance assistants, or HSAs (community health workers).

Smartphone App to Improve Health Assessments of Women and Children in Rural Villages

How can smartphone apps improve health assessments in rural villages? This is precisely what VillageReach, in partnership with D-tree, is figuring out. During the first week of February 2015, 25 health surveillance assistants (HSAs), nurses and other health workers received intensive training on smartphone technology and the capabilities of a new maternal and neonatal health (MNH) assessment application designed by D-tree.

flooding in Mozambique, river bridge

Impact of Flooding on Storage and Delivery of Vaccines

A blog highlighting the challenges in addressing major infrastructure gaps resulting from the catastrophic flooding in Mozambique and the impact on the vaccine supply chain – January 2015.

Chuvas intensas no centro e norte de Moçambique e o seu impacto no acondicionamento de vacinas, o caso da província de Niassa


O clima em Moçambique é caracterizado por ser húmido e tropical, estando na lista dos países do mundo mais vulneráveis a catástrofes naturais, segundo as Nações Unidas. A época chuvosa 2013-2014 foi caracterizada pela ocorrência de chuvas extremas em particular na região sul do país nomeadamante, a província de Gaza, que resultaram em inundações e destruição de infra-estrutura. Centenas de moçambicanos morreram e outros milhares tiveram de abandonar as suas casas. Na presente época chuvosa, 2014-2015, as chuvas caem com alguma regularidade em todo o país, no entanto, diferente cenário vive-se nas zonas centro e norte tendo obrigado o Conselho de Ministros de Moçambique a decretar “alerta vermelho institucional” logo nos primeiros dias de 2015. Infra-estruturas destruídas, familias desalojas e dezenas de mortes foram o destaque da imprensa Moçambicana e não só, logo no inicio do ano novo.

As chuvas intensas resultaram num apagão desde o dia 12 de Janeiro de 2015 em toda a região norte do país (Niassa, Cabo Delgado e Nampula) e uma parte da provincia central da Zamb…

VillageReach Working to Assist Flood Efforts in Malawi

VillageReach operates several programs in the areas affected by the recent flooding in Malawi including the Kwitanda Community Health Project, located in Balaka District. VillageReach’s ongoing work in Kwitanda highlights the critical role of infrastructure and how systemic improvements are critical to community health outcomes, especially when disaster hits.

VillageReach projects have provided instrumental support in the wake of this emergency:

VillageReach has distributed bicycles to the Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) so that they may continue their under-five clinics providing immunizations and growth monitoring.
VillageReach has played a key role in helping with logistics, distributing supplies to the Kwitanda Health Centre, helping to manage the growing number of diarrhea cases.
The boreholes VillageReach built and repaired in the last year are mitigating the spread of water-borne diseases.

VillageReach initiated a Community-Led Total Sanitation initiative last year, including building new latrines. While some of these structures have been damaged or destroyed, the surviving latrines, combined with chlorine, also supplied by VillageReach, is a tremendous help in alleviating the spread of water-borne diseases during the flooding.
VillageReach-supported clinics have proved key in mitigating the impact of unskilled deliveries and offering care for sick children.
Communities in…

2014: A Year of Learning

Blog by Ruth Bechtel, Mozambique Country Director
For VillageReach, this learning visit represents an important milestone. One of our key objectives is to facilitate peer-to-peer learning among provincial teams so that the evidence generated by the DLS implementation in the initial four provinces can be used to catalyze change in other provinces in Mozambique and elsewhere.

Making Sense of Maternal and Child Mortality

Blog by Melissa Sanchez, VillageReach.
To strengthen and supplement the inconsistent and incomplete reporting mechanisms within Kwitanda, VillageReach has undertaken several new initiatives to better understand the questions above.

What I learned from Copenhagen #GHSCS 2014

One of the great benefits of these conferences is the opportunity to talk to people from different sectors all over the world and to learn about what other folks are doing to improve supply chain efficiencies. Some of the themes that emerged from the different presentations and conversations during the week…

A Relief for Rural Health Workers

BLOG: “The Pharmacy Assistant Training program is a very exceptional program because it is practicum- oriented. The student assigned to our health center the past five months is already doing an amazing job. I am no longer dispensing, or dealing with supply chain issues other than approving issues and orders. Now, I am able to see more patients in a day, and provide more thorough examinations.”

The Building Blocks of Vaccine Supply Chains – A Lego Experiment

It seems like a stretch—using Legos to find efficiencies in a vaccine supply chain. But that was the concept we worked with last week in Mozambique with representatives from both national and provincial level Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, and VillageReach, led by the HERMES logistics team taking us through the use of the HERMES modeling tool.

Testing Innovation in the Field - SELV

When I facilitated a week-long training in Maputo in June this year, the excitement I felt about SELV and the positive changes it could bring about was reflected in the faces and attitudes of everyone present in the room.

Technically Speaking - the Deployment of OpenLMIS in Mozambique

Since beginning my technology associate internship at VillageReach, I’ve learned that strengthening health systems in developing countries requires reliable health information and improved decision-making capacity at all levels. Without real information on who needs what and where things are going it’s impossible to keep health centers supplied with the commodities they need to treat their patients.

Over the past six months, I have been working within the information systems group at VillageReach on a project that seeks to address these very issues. Together with various partners and collaborators, we have developed an electronic logistics management information system (LMIS) that helps countries keep track of and manage everything from tongue depressors to polio vaccines. This platform, called OpenLMIS, is free, open source, and designed especially with the needs of low-resource environments in mind. Essentially, it’s a web-supported system with a complex back end but simple user interface that can be customized to the tracking needs for medical commodities needs of any country. Most interestingly, (in my opinion) it has an offline mode where users can still record stock data even when they have no Internet connection.

In the summer of 2014, VillageReach deployed OpenLMIS to…

Moving Health Commodities in Africa: Private sector transport for public health systems

August 4, 2014
The Next Billion

By John Beale. VillageReach recently completed this assessment of the Mozambique Ministry of Health’s (MISAU) transport fleets and logistics practices to identify key opportunities for improvement. The assessment also considered the unique business environment and practices of commercial transport operators to determine if MISAU’s freight transport and distribution requirements could be outsourced to the private sector. The research coincides with the ministry’s investigation of outsourcing its transport in order to improve operating efficiency, access higher-quality resources and vehicles, gain access to innovations developed in the private sector, and free up internal resources to address core health systems functions. The author is VillageReach’s director of strategic development and head of private sector engagement.

Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management

I’m excited about this work because at VillageReach we believe that more rigorous evaluation of supply chain interventions and more transparent dissemination of results is vital to increasing access to medications to those who need them the most. Creating a body of evidence on what works, advocating that evidence-based practices be implemented, and learning from each other’s progress and each other’s challenges, is the best way to make sustainable change.

A Visit From Dr. Kabambe

I recently joined, the Director of Planning and Policy Implementation of the Malawian Ministry of Health, for a meeting with Jessica Crawford and Zachariah Jezman, Country Director and Project Manager of VillageReach. We discussed Chipatala Cha Pa Foni and the possibilities of scaling the project nationally…

Shopping Around for Vaccine Supply Chains? Try it On.

You may not think that the world of fashion relates to vaccine supply chains, but let me make the connection…Until a supply system “store” is available, a modeling exercise is the next best option. By sharing our learning in Mozambique and Benin, we help build a knowledge set that others can benefit and learn from…

My Journey to the Pharmacy Assistants Training Program

This programme, therefore is very important because it will help in combating some of the problems that many health centres are experiencing in Malawi. It will help fill the gap that currently exists in terms of qualified pharmacy assistants in the health centres. With better trained pharmacy personnel, there will be proper record keeping, good dispensing skills…

The Illusive “Other Duties as Required”

In the Mozambique health system, this has become the catchall phrase for health workers. They are tasked with numerous responsibilities including the supply chain function, resulting in a crisis for human resources for health…

Testing New Ways to Improve the Cold Chain

While technology has become more and more common in addressing issues of health care in low resource communities, the most effective solutions are usually the most accessible and inexpensive, and ColdTrace is an example of such a technology.

The Best Remedy

VillageReach Pharmacy Assistants Program Student– Class of 2015

My name is Clifford Kanono.  I am enrolled in VillageReach’s Pharmacy Assistant Training Programme. Previously, I worked as a Health Surveillance Assistant in the rural communities of Nkhata Bay District in the Northern part of Malawi. The health facility I worked in had to serve about 14,500 people in a year—a large number given the resources of the facility.  This, like most other health facilities in rural communities face many challenges, but one of the most problematic is the adverse effects of non-trained pharmacy personnel:

Poor stock management resulting in frequent stock outs of medical supplies
Expiry of the medical supplies before they are used
Dispensing of medicine by unqualified staff who cannot give adequate information about the medicine to the patients
Heavy workload – patients spend more time waiting for medication due to understaffing
Poor documentation,  reporting and organization of medical supplies

Having observed such challenges on a regular basis was concerning to me, so when I saw the announcement of a new training opportunity by the Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS), Ministry of Health (MoH) and VillageReach, I very much wanted to join…

How a Phone Call Saved a Life

Had it not been for CCPF and the transport officer, Mercy would have suffered severe bleeding and infection. Fortunately, she and her baby boy received timely and appropriate care, and both are happy and healthy today.

Program Update: Mozambique DLS Performance Report January - June 2013

We recently posted the latest performance report update for the Dedicated Logistics System (DLS) in Mozambique, covering January – June 2013. You can find the report here.

The implementation of the DLS is conducted in close partnership with the Mozambique Ministry of Health and provincial governments to improve access to vaccines for millions lacking sufficient healthcare in four of the country’s ten provinces. The focus of the program and the metrics we track concern vaccine distribution, one of the most cost effective interventions to save a life.

These reports, which reqire government approval for us to publish, cover a variety of metrics including:
• Health centers visited and data reported
• Delivery of vaccines
• Stock outs of vaccines
• Functioning refrigerators
• Number of vaccines administered

For the health centers receiving deliveries of vaccines from the DLS, vaccine stock outs continue to be below ten percent. More than 95 percent of refrigerators at health centers are functioning within the range necessary to ensure vaccines remain at desired temperatures. At the same time, the timing of vaccine deliveries is not as high as our target … this is a work in progress as we assist the provincial ministries of health to absorb the logistics system into…

VillageReach Featured in Seattle International Foundation's 2013 Global Giving Guide

Excerpt on CCPF from Seattle International Foundation’s Giving Guide: Rose is a Group Village Head in central Malawi and is responsible for overseeing the well-being of a community of a 32-village community. She has long been concerned with the challenges women and children face in her community when trying to access health information and services.

Mozambique Dedicated Logistics System Performance Reports

This blog summarizes the The Mozambique Dedicated Logistics System (DLS) Performance Reports that are regularly issued, government-approved updates on the status of key performance indicators monitored by the DLS which serve as a gauge of quality system implementation. The first of these reports is featured here.

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