BRUSSELS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today at the European Development Days, The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations, in partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the latest expansion of “Project Last Mile” with innovative programs to strengthen local health systems in Liberia and Swaziland. Launched in 2010 to transform the delivery of medical supplies in Tanzania, Project Last Mile has since worked with Ministries of Health in Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and South Africa to improve the availability of essential medicines.
Project Last Mile is a public-private partnership that applies Coca-Cola’s supply-chain management and marketing expertise to support African governments in reaching the ‘last mile’ to deliver life-saving medicines and supplies to the hardest-to-reach communities. The new program in Swaziland will leverage Coca-Cola’s marketing expertise to increase awareness and demand for critical HIV prevention and treatment services in a country that has the highest prevalence of HIV in the world. Project Last Mile is joining with the Swaziland Ministry of Health and development partners to end the AIDS epidemic by providing innovative approaches to reducing HIV transmission in the country.
“With our strong commitment to reducing the HIV/AIDS burden in Swaziland, we are very pleased to be able to partner with Project Last Mile and tap into Coca-Cola’s vast experience to find ways to implement innovative marketing approaches to increase demand for HIV prevention services and treatment,” said Ms. Rejoice Nkambule, Deputy Director, Public Health, Ministry of Health of Swaziland.
Following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, which dramatically strained health systems, Project Last Mile partners began working with the Liberian Ministry of Health to harness the experience of the local bottling partner, Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited. The project in Liberia will apply Coca-Cola’s extensive route-to-market and logistics expertise to set-up a more efficient and sustainable distribution network for medicines and medical supplies. The first phase of the project began in May 2017 and is expected to run for one year.
“With its unique public-private partnership model, Project Last Mile develops simple answers to extremely complex problems, and supports African Ministries of Health in providing life-saving medicines to patients and communities who need it most,” said Dr. Susan Mboya, President, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. “What started with a single vision and vast ambition is now making a difference to millions of people across Africa, and we are delighted that we can now apply Coca-Cola’s operational experience to strengthening health systems in Liberia and Swaziland. Project Last Mile shows that great things can be achieved when like-minded organizations come together with a common goal, and we look forward to further expanding the initiative to meet our goal of working in 10 African countries by 2020.”
“The last decade has seen tremendous progress in science and investments in global health, and we’re working to overcome the final hurdles to reach the millions of people in Africa who still lack access to critical medicines and medical supplies,” said Marijke Wijnroks, the Global Fund’s Interim Executive Director. “The Coca-Cola Company is a global expert in overcoming the same kind of supply chain challenges that we at the Global Fund face every day. Project Last Mile is critically important.”
Following an initial commitment by program partners, the initiative began in Tanzania in 2010 and has since transformed medicine distribution in the country, allowing the government agency Medical Stores Department to better forecast needs and reorganize and expand its distribution system, improving the availability of medicine by up to 30%. Prior to the training and reorganization there were 150 warehouse drop-off points, a number which has now expanded to more than 5,500 health facilities directly supplied by Medical Stores Department.
The program was expanded in 2014 with more than US$21 million investment from partners, as well as the official addition of USAID to the coalition. Three additional Project Last Mile programs began in Mozambique, South Africa and Nigeria during 2016. For example in Mozambique, Project Last Mile partners with the Central de Medicamentos e Artigos Médicos (CMAM) to improve delivery of medicines to health facilities in hard-to-reach areas, with pilot projects currently taking place in three provinces. This is in support of the Mozambique Government’s Strategic Plan for improving Pharmaceutical Logistics.
During the European Development Days, hosted in Brussels by the European Commission, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will expand on learnings from Project Last Mile in a discussion called “Harnessing the Power of the Private Sector to Achieve the Health SDG” at 09:00 on June 8th.
About The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) is an entity funded through Coca-Cola that implements community development programs throughout Africa. TCCAF has committed resources and is collaborating with partners to provide communities with improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), to contribute to strengthening Africa’s health systems through Project Last Mile, and to create opportunities for youth empowerment through the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) program.
The Foundation’s community activities focus on three key areas central to life in Africa: water, health and empowerment. By providing assistance in the most critical areas of need, TCCAF strives to improve the quality of life for communities in Africa and expand the opportunities for those who live there. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is involved in humanitarian assistance in Africa, for disaster relief and emergency assistance.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, offering over 500 brands to people in more than 200 countries. Of our 21 billion-dollar brands, 19 are available in lower- or no-sugar options to help people moderate their consumption of added sugar. In addition to our namesake Coca-Cola drinks, some of our leading brands around the world include: AdeS soy-based beverages, Ayataka green tea, Dasani waters, Del Valle juices and nectars, Fanta, Georgia coffee, Gold Peak teas and coffees, Honest Tea, Minute Maid juices, Powerade sports drinks, Simply juices, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater, and Zico coconut water. At Coca-Cola, we’re serious about making positive contributions to the world. That starts with reducing sugar in our drinks and continuing to introduce new ones with added benefits. It also means continuously working to reduce our environmental impact, creating rewarding careers for our associates and bringing economic opportunity wherever we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people around the world. For more information, visit our digital magazine Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, and follow The Coca-Cola Company on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About the Global Fund
The Global Fund is a 21st-century partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries. By challenging barriers and embracing innovative approaches, we are working together to better serve people affected by the diseases.