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Evaluations and Reports

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


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.

Kwitanda Community Health Project

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

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.

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…

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.

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

Project Summaries


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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.


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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

2016: Time to Take Stock

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

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.

Preparing for Rotavirus in Mozambique

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

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…

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…

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.

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.

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…

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…

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Malawi healthcare worker