Coca-Cola and the Global Fund outlined plans to expand Project Last Mile, a public-private partnership established in 2010 to help Tanzania's government-run medicine distribution network, Medical Stores Department (MSD), build a more efficient supply chain by using Coca-Cola's logistics models for delivering beverages. The newest phases of the partnership will increase availability of critical medicines to 75 percent of Tanzania and expand the initiative to Ghana and Mozambique. Opportunities to expand into additional countries are being explored.
Project Last Mile was originally developed in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partnerships, Yale University's Global Health Leadership Institute, and government partners like MSD. Since 2010, the project has:
• Benefited nearly 20 million people who now have better access to critical medicines in the 10 regions where the revised distribution model has been implemented;
• Reduced lead time for medicine deliveries to Tanzanian health facilities by as much as 25 days;
• Empowered MSD to reorganize and expand its distribution system from 500 warehouse drop-off points to direct delivery to 5,000 health facilities;
• Enabled health facilities to place orders for medicines; and improved by 20 to 30 percent the availability of critical medicines in health clinics where the new model has been rolled out.
Tanzania is the second-largest recipient of grants from the Global Fund. Funding has enabled a critical scale-up in access to life-saving medicines for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which makes expanding distribution systems and improving logistics even more pressing. An estimated 39 percent of Global Fund grants worldwide have been used on procurement of pharmaceuticals and other health products. This amounts to a cumulative expenditure of more than $4.5bn since 2002.
Building on the successes in Tanzania, the project has expanded to Ghana, to improve access to essential medicines and vaccines. Additionally, a partnership with U.S. Agency for International Development has been established as Project Last Mile continues to expand to other regions. In scaling up into Mozambique partners will leverage an existing collaboration between Coca-Cola and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
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