Achievement at a glance
Since the launch of Project Last Mile in 2010, the initiative has built a strong foundation as a multi-sectoral partnership bringing together a powerful coalition of public, private, civil society and academic partners to tackle challenges in global health in Africa.
By tapping into Coca-Cola’s expertise in distributing beverages to the most remote corners of Africa, Project Last Mile is helping African Ministries of Health make life-saving improvements to the storage, distribution and marketing of critical medicines and medical supplies.
The objective of PLM is threefold: to forge lasting partnerships across sectors, to transfer knowledge from the Coca-Cola System and to develop capacity to enable Ministries of Health to create and sustain efficiencies to improve health outcomes. Since its launch, the PLM partnership has established strong governance and partnership structure, and initiated activities to improve access to medicines in multiple countries in Africa.
Challenges faced in implementation
PLM works in a global health and development context in which many partners are designing and implementing programs. To ensure PLM does not duplicate efforts, it conducts comprehensive landscape reviews and partner consultations to design programmes that complement ongoing initiatives, if relevant.
PLM’s capacity building interventions largely rely on expertise from the Coca-Cola system. The Coca-Cola business and bottling partners continue to demonstrate strong willingness and commitment to support Project Last Mile, while maintaining high levels of performance in their current roles. To mitigate this, PLM refined its delivery approach to leverage partners from the vast Coca-Cola ‘ecosystem’ of former employees, subject matter experts and organizations that have supported Coca-Cola in achieving consistent availability across the African continent to lead and execute delivery in-country. Not only does this approach optimize access to Coca-Cola expertise, it also and reduces the dependence on current Coca-Cola staff to volunteer many working hours and is more cost-efficient than subcontracting large organizations to support implementation.
Project Last Mile will continue to drive its ongoing interventions within partner countries and engage stakeholders to strengthen the pipeline of interventions based on needs and priorities of Ministries of Health.
Through its capability-building approach to sustainably improving distribution of medicines, Project Last Mile aims to directly benefit individuals and teams within Ministries of Health and its partners, and indirectly benefit the consumers of essential m
Through targeted interventions identified and agreed upon by Ministries of Health and PLM donor partners, PLM aims to reach the beneficiaries outlined above. Examples of relevant actions include:
1. Outsourced Distribution: Leveraging Coca-Cola’s expertise and relationships with third-party distributors and assisting with management of outsourced contracts to support efficient and reliable delivery of medicines.
2. Network Optimization: Sharing Coca-Cola’s transportation routing, scheduling and spare part management processes with Ministries of Health.
3. Workforce Transformation: Assessing human resource needs and advising on critical competencies required for staff to carry out their supply chain functions effectively.
4. Strategic Marketing: Training sales and marketing staff for a better understanding of customers. Leveraging marketing techniques to improve patient demand and adherence to medicines.
5. Proactive Planning: Sharing planning and costing tools and coaching staff on how to run effective planning sessions to improve forecast accuracy and reduce stockouts.