VillageReach seeks to increase access to quality healthcare for the world’s most underserved communities by strengthening health service delivery, enhancing information systems, and engaging the private sector.
Focus: Health, Technology, Enterprise Development
Geographic Area of Impact: Malawi, Mozambique
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 16 million benefitting from enhanced health systems
Annual Budget: USD $5.2 million (2014)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 25% (2013)
Globally, more than 4 billion people have little or no access to healthcare. The great majority live in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia, and South America where healthcare is a challenge to deliver because of limited personnel and weak infrastructure capacity. These regions account for a disproportionate share of worldwide deaths: 2.4 million children alone die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Over the last few decades there has been significant focus on the discovery, development and financing of new medical products. Given the successes these efforts are generating, it’s critical we address the inadequacies of the health systems to deliver these products to all communities. Existing distribution systems in many countries struggle to meet current needs and cannot support the anticipated future increases in medical supply throughput. This gap is most acute in rural communities and at the lower levels of the supply chain, where infrastructure is the weakest. Absent improvements, we’re facing an “innovation pile-up” that could render the billions of dollars devoted to discovery, development and procurement a profoundly diminished investment.
The VillageReach approach, which emphasizes the Last Mile of distribution, focuses on assessing and designing innovations at the lowest levels of the system, where healthcare is delivered.
Innovation and Activities
VillageReach develops and deploys innovations in the field, working with ministries of health and global health partners to take those innovations to scale. We also seek to develop innovations to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery which other organizations can then leverage. This scope of work comprises healthcare service delivery, information and communications technology systems, and private sector engagement.
In Mozambique, we applied all of these capabilities to support improvements in the country’s health system. To increase access to vaccines for rural communities: we redesigned the distribution system; developed a logistics management information system (LMIS); provided supportive training and supervision for frontline health workers to absorb and sustain these innovations; and created and capitalized an energy services company to deliver fuel to off-grid health centers. After five years, the program increased vaccine coverage rates for children from 68% to 95% and reduced stock-outs from 80% to 1%, all at a 20% reduction in government operating costs. Today, this activity supports more than 400 rural health centers serving a population of over 8 million.
To enable countries to better manage the tracking and distribution of medical commodities, VillageReach collaborated with a number of partners to create OpenLMIS, an open source, open standards, Internet-enabled, logistics management information system. Under the OpenLMIS initiative, all countries now have access to this software platform to enable significant improvements in healthcare delivery at costs much lower than prevailing solutions. OpenLMIS is now deployed in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, with future implementations anticipated.
Allen Wilcox was appointed president of VillageReach in 2008. Allen is active across the breath VillageReach’s areas of focus and oversees its strategic development. Previously, Allen served as Associate General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation, where he supported Microsoft’s international expansion and developed new distribution channels for Microsoft products. Allen has an LLM in International Business Legal Studies from University of Exeter, a JD from Southern Methodist University and a BA from University of Texas. He was a Rotary Foundation Scholar.
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