It started with a question: If Coca-Cola can deliver beverages to the most remote towns in Africa, why can’t essential medicines get there, too?
Now, the results of a partnership between Coca-Cola and the Global Fund show what a good idea it was to join forces with the government of Tanzania to improve the supply chain for medicines. The solution is not just navigating bumpy roads in ‘the last mile’ of any delivery, it is about lending expertise in a way that enables Tanzanian health officials to make the delivery they need.
Two years after implementation began, 120 essential medicines are being delivered to 5,000 health facilities, instead of only 500. Even better, the typical delivery time has been reduced from 30 days to 5 days, a difference that is likely to save a lot of lives. Overall, almost 20 million people – nearly half the population of Tanzania – have access to those health facilities.
Those are the hard numbers. Yet direct delivery also allows better information flow, so that health officials better understand how medicines reach health clinics, and which health facilities are operating well and which are not. That can improve planning and logistics, stock management, and optimize final point distribution systems. Plus, public sector staff are learning first-hand about business solutions from the private sector.
Documentation of the success has been performed by Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute, which will allow Coca-Cola and the Global Fund to replicate, scale up and share the key leanings from this project.
The results were announced in New York on 25 September at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting by Coca-Cola CEO and Chairman Muhtar Kent and Global Fund General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo. To build on this success, the project is being expanded to Ghana and Mozambique.
Credit: Julianwa Thomas / Clinton Global Initiative.