The Coca-Cola Company, USAID, the Global Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invest more than $21M USD to expand initiative to 10 countries
On June 23, 2014 the Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the expansion of “Project Last Mile” to include 10 African countries over the next five years.
This public-private partnership – currently focused on Tanzania and Ghana – applies Coca-Cola’s logistic, supply chain, distribution and marketing expertise to help African governments maximize the ability to get critical medicines and medical supplies the “last mile” to those who need it most in remote communities in Africa.
Today’s commitment to expand includes an investment of more than $21 million USD from the partners, as well as the official addition of USAID to this powerful coalition. The next country where Project Last Mile is being implemented is Mozambique. The additional seven countries are in various stages of identification and discussion with local governments.
“Africa has been a vital part of our business for more than 85 years, and we’re committed to doing our part to help people across Africa live healthier and more active lives,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “We know our business can only be as strong as the communities we serve, and we’re honored to use Coca-Cola’s expertise to improve the distribution of medicine and medical supplies. Project Last Mile has been a great and growing success so far, and we look forward to working with our partners to improve lives across more communities and more countries. It’s wonderful to be able to help more people enjoy better access to life-sustaining and life-enhancing medicines.”
Through Project Last Mile, the government agencies managing the procurement and efficient distribution of essential medicines and medical supplies benefit from private sector expertise, learning how to forecast demand for medicines and vaccines, better market the availability of such commodities, and ensure the cold chain equipment is maintained properly for storing certain medicines and vaccines.
“As a result of Last Mile we have been able to implement professional practices that have improved our planning, distribution and performance management processes. This has improved our capability to consistently deliver critical medical supplies throughout Tanzania,” said Cosmas Mwaifwani, The Director General of the Medical Stores Department in Tanzania. “Since we began working with our partners in 2010, we have been able to increase the availability of medicines in medical clinics by 20-30% in some places where we have implemented the direct distribution model. Additionally, the partners have shared distribution tools with us to enable us to efficiently reach more than 5,500 health facilities.”
“Project Last Mile is an excellent example of partners coming together to develop an innovative solution that provides access to critical medicines and medical supplies in remote African communities,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Private sector involvement has a vital role to play in public health.”
“As a global community we have set ambitious goals of ending preventable child and maternal deaths and creating an AIDS-free generation,” said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. “By harnessing the power of Project Last Mile’s coalition to get life-saving medicines to the people that need them most, we can help to bend the curve and accelerate reductions in child and maternal deaths.”
Project Last Mile is executed in collaboration with Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) and Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), who each bring unique skills to make the project sustainable.