|The Importance of Vaccine Distribution
Note from the President
VillageReach has continued to create new opportunities as awareness of our capabilities and demand for our expertise grows. The importance of strengthening health systems is gaining recognition in global health circles. Here is a short report on a speech World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan made last month:
Chan said the [H1N1] pandemic would “test the world on the issue of fairness,” as she delivered an address to a meeting of Southeast Asian health ministers in Kathmandu. “I believe it will reveal in a measurable and tragic way the consequences of decades of failure to invest adequately in basic health systems and infrastructure,” said Chan. “It will show what the failure to care about equity in international policy really means in life and death terms.”
VillageReach has been working hard to develop relevant expertise and be in a position to make a significant contribution to improve health systems at the last mile. We hope it will not take a disaster to move the world to make the necessary investments to strengthen health systems top to bottom so they can handle a challenge such as the H1N1 pandemic.
-Allen Wilcox, President Using Mobile Technology at the Last Mile
VillageReach is currently involved in several projects utilizing mobile technology at the last mile. In collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV)
, VillageReach has created a data collection system for antimalarial drug vendors. This system utilizes text messaging from mobile phones to collect data on drug distribution in the public and private sectors. Patterns of antimalarial drug use at the rural level provide insight into how and when antimalarial drugs are being used and at what price for the patient. Because there is enormous variety in the cost and effectiveness of commercially available antimalarials, understanding consumption patterns allows MMV to advocate for specific policies that increase access to the most effective medicines. The VillageReach technology enables real-time viewing of the data trends at a granular level. Using simple, appropriate technology, VillageReach provides MMV with the transparency of antimalarial use that they need to support their advocacy work.
Programs in India and South Africa
VillageReach has just completed the first phase of a new partnership with a global pharmaceutical company to develop a last mile immunization program in India. In collaboration with the company, VillageReach hosted a workshop in Mumbai that brought together immunization policy leadership from India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, local and other global non-profit organizations involved in improving health systems and services, and company representatives covering vaccine development, logistics and corporate social responsibility. VillageReach is on track to begin a program based on the workshop results in early 2010.
In August, VillageReach conducted an assessment of the last-mile health system in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Based on this assessment, VillageReach has created a proposal to strengthen primary health care systems through the improvment of information management and supportive supervision using quality improvement methodology. VillageReach is seeking support from a donor in South Africa for this project. If funded, implementation will begin in early 2010. VillageReach in the News!
VillageReach has had some exciting media coverage recently. Including: