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Evaluations and Reports

Promoting Equitable Health Product Access through Supply Chain Design

Despite global gains increasing immunization coverage, progress has slowed and nearly 20 million children remain under-immunized. Geographical clustering of under-immunized children further increases the risk of outbreaks, which makes reaching under-served communities even more critical. One important aspect of increasing immunization coverage is ensuring adequate functioning cold storage capacity up to the point of administration, since uninterrupted cold storage is essential to maintaining vaccine potency. At the request of the government of Pakistan, VillageReach worked with UNICEF and Gavi, the VaccineAlliance, to define metrics that could be used to consider equity while designing Pakistan’simmunization supply chain.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

OpenLMIS Feature Guide

October 25, 2016
OpenLMIS Feature Guide



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.

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…


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.

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.

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.


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

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.

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.


VillageReach programs increase access to quality healthcare for more than 35 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…


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: 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.

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

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…


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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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

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.


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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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.

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…

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).

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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