Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Tag Archives: infrastructure

03.28 2016

Could UAVs Reduce Waiting Time for Pediatric HIV Test Results?

UAV in Malawi

Photo: UNICEF – Children observe the UAV launch in Malawi

I have experienced quite a few “firsts” since joining VillageReach, but by far one of the most exciting is the experience participating in the first tests of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (commonly known as drones) for HIV sample transport* in Malawi. VillageReach is currently working with UNICEF and Matternet, a leading UAV company, to test and assess the feasibility of UAVs, with critical implications for the treatment of HIV in children.

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03.24 2016

Over the past year and a half in Benin, VillageReach has supported the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) in their work to pilot and scale Logivac, an informed push distribution system for immunization commodities.

Starting as a pilot in a single health zone in 2014, this system will be deployed in approximately one-third of the 34 health zones nationwide under the name Logivac+ by July, 2016. Working with AMP, VillageReach has helped deploy and adapt OpenLMIS, locally called the Systeme Informatisé d’Information Logistique (SIIL), collecting data and providing the information needed to improve the informed push system. Over the past weeks, VillageReach and AMP have been working to determine program needs and ensure that SIIL is up-to-date as Logivac+ moves to scale.

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02.22 2016

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. 

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12.22 2015

In response to this article by Dr. Mahad Ibrahim on the role of data during the Ebola outbreak, some interesting questions were sparked among our team. The piece evoked a lot of great insights about the opportunities and challenges the piece addresses, as well as how we see those topics evidenced in our VillageReach work. This topic is of particular interest to us, as we and our partners at the University of Washington are actively developing and testing an open-source tool for paper to digital data conversion, ODK Scan.

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12.01 2015
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.”

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10.12 2015

The UN Commission for Life-Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC)Atelier d’échange: Pratiques et ressources pour améliorer l’accès aux treize produits vitaux pour la santé des femmes et des enfants(in English, “Workshop to Promote Exchange on Practices and Resources to Increase Access to the 13 Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health”) on took place last month in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was made possible through a collaboration between the UNCoLSC and Securité Contraceptive en Afrique Francophone (SECONAF, the regional forum for Francophone Africa of the Reproductive Health Supply Chain Coalition), and followed the SECONAF Annual Meeting.

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09.24 2015

Many people in global health talk about how Coca-Cola supply chain practices could be applied and adapted to health commodities to ensure that vaccines, malaria treatment, family planning commodities, and many more essential medicines are available at the last mile health facilities. And they have a point—I have seen Coca-Cola in pretty much every village I’ve been to in Africa throughout my almost 20 years of going to these remote places.

However, that cannot be said for the south part of the Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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08.20 2015

Ready, set, go! And they’re off!

That’s how the introduction of Rotavirus happened in Mozambique. The country has been planning on this for a while, but, as often happens, it seems to come down to the wire to work out the details of how to get more than 1 million vials of Rotavirus vaccines out to more than 1,400 health centers across the country.

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Malawi healthcare worker