Raj Panjabi is Chief Executive Officer of Last Mile Health and Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. At the age of nine, Panjabi escaped a civil war in his home country of Liberia. He returned as a 24 year old medical student to serve the people he had left behind and Co-Founded Last Mile Health. Last Mile Health saves lives in the world’s most remote communities by partnering with governments to design, scale, and advocate for national networks of community health professionals. In 2016, TIME Magazine named Raj in its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” with a tribute from President Bill Clinton. Last Mile Health’s work has been published in the Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and PLoS Medicine and has been featured by TIME, Fortune and Forbes.
- Non-profit Social Enterprise
- Future of Health and Healthcare; Global Health
- Areas of Impact
- North America, Africa, Liberia
Last Mile Health
Last Mile Health was founded in 2007 to overcome the challenges of remote healthcare delivery and ensure access to lifesaving care for all people living in remote communities, defined as those more than five kilometres from the nearest health facility. The organization recruits, trains, equips, manages and pays professionalized community healthcare workers who deliver high-quality care to their neighbours and fellow community members living in the last mile.
Community healthcare workers take the services traditionally provided in hospitals and clinics and bring them to patients’ doorsteps. These community-based outpatient services ensure that people living in remote communities have access to the healthcare they need to end preventable deaths.
Since Last Mile Health was founded, the organization has demonstrated impressive impact. Last Mile Health successfully launched Liberia’s first community-based rural HIV treatment programme in Konobo District, which has since been scaled by the government to more than 19 sites nationally. Meanwhile, Last Mile Health’s community healthcare workers programme in Konobo has achieved dramatic gains in access to care for women and children, including an increase in maternal facility-based deliveries from 56% in 2012 to 96% in 2015.
In addition to training and deploying community healthcare workers in Grand Gedeh and Rivercess Counties, Last Mile Health is now serving as a technical assistance partner to the Liberia Ministry of Health, supporting the government to develop and implement a nationwide community healthcare workers programme – to be known as the National Community Health Assistant (CHA) Programme – aimed at ensuring that all Liberians living in the last mile have access to lifesaving care, no matter how far they live from the nearest clinic. This historic programme will deploy over 4,000 community health professionals to reach 1.2 million Liberians.