Across Africa, governments and donors are investing billions of dollars to strengthen health systems and make affordable medicines available. However, government supply chains often struggle to get medicines and supplies to the health facilities and people who need them most. In other situations, health ministries may provide good health services but are not able to attract patients who use these services.
Health supply chain challenges in low- and middle-income countries include poor information systems, shortage of trained personnel, lack of appropriate equipment to store medicines, and poor roads and infrastructure leading to inadequate transport between central warehouses and local distribution points. There is also low engagement with private sector entities to strengthen supply chains, learn from private sector best practices, increase collaboration and savings on distribution costs and develop innovative ways of working.
Project Last Mile was created in 2010 to leverage and share core private sector expertise to improve health systems across Africa in a sustainable way. To do this, Project Last Mile leverages logistical, supply chain and marketing expertise of the Coca-Cola system to improve the reach and uptake of lifesaving medicines, including HIV medicines, and health services in Africa.
Project Last Mile partners include the Global Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Coca-Cola Company and Coca- Cola Foundation, local implementing partners and health ministries.
Following an initial commitment of more than US$21 million by partners in 2014, Project Last Mile has provided support to 10 countries in Africa. The partners announced an additional US$20 million in in-kind and financial support over the next five years in September 2019, allowing them to deepen their investment in existing countries and launch at least five new projects
Project Last Mile is designed to bring focused private sector expertise to complement the work of larger public health initiatives. It transfers the skills and knowledge from the Coca-Cola network to the health ministry partners and customizes solutions. The inputs create changes in systems that can have sustained impact, ensuring that people can access crucial medicines when needed.
Read about some examples of impact in our Focus On publication: