Recently I attended a gathering of major influencers in the world of global health – ministers of health, U.S. government officials, and representatives from NGOs, philanthropic organizations and the private sector. “Acting on the Call,” brought together these leaders to celebrate recent successes in improving maternal, child, and newborn health and to examine new methods to improve health care access in even the most remote parts of the world.
It was impressive to me to see this broad array of people exchanging ideas, particularly on how to improve the health of women and children around the globe. Dr. Kesete Admasu, the Ethiopian Minster of Health, shared examples of significant strides made in his country including the Health Extension Program, a national strategy for primary health care in Ethiopia.
A program featured during the gathering was Project Last Mile (PLM), which leverages the Coca-Cola Company’s supply chain expertise to bring medicine to rural African communities. Spearheaded by Coca-Cola the partnership also includes USAID, the Global Fund, Accenture Development Partners and Yale GHLI. Project Last Mile has already seen tremendous results in Tanzania, where the availability of medicines has increased by 20-30% in some cases. Over the next five years the project aims to reach a total of 10 countries with work already starting in Ghana and Mozambique.
“Acting on the Call’ highlighted the fact that success in maternal and child health requires not only creative solutions, but also strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. By leveraging the unique assets of the private sector, like Coca-Cola, we can see amazing results that truly change lives.