NEW YORK - The Coca‑Cola Company and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today announced they will expand a project leveraging the Company's expansive global distribution system and core business expertise to help government and non-governmental organizations deliver critical medicines to remote parts of the world, beginning in rural Africa.
As part of their participation in the Clinton Global Initiative's (CGI) Annual Meeting, the Company and the Global Fund outlined their plans to expand the reach of "Project Last Mile," a public-private partnership established in 2010 to help Tanzania's government-run medicine distribution network, Medical Stores Department (MSD), build a more efficient supply chain by using Coca‑Cola's proven logistics models for delivering beverages most anywhere in the world. The newest phases of the partnership will increase the availability of critical medicines to 75 percent of Tanzania and expand the initiative to Ghana and Mozambique. Opportunities to expand into additional countries are being explored.
Originally developed in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partnerships, Yale University's Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI), and government partners like MSD, "Project Last Mile" demonstrates a proven track record on which to expand. Since 2010, the project has:
- Benefitted nearly 20 million people who now have better access to critical medicines in the ten regions where the revised distribution model has been implemented so far;
- Reduced lead time for medicine deliveries to Tanzanian health facilities by as much as 25 days;
- Empowered MSD to reorganize and expand its distribution system from 500 warehouse drop off points to direct delivery to 5,000 health facilities;
- Enabled health facilities to place their own orders for medicines; and improved by 20-30 percent the availability of critical medicines in health clinics where the new model has been rolled out.
A case study released today by GHLI documents key lessons learned from the partnership thus far and is available as a teaching tool for public-private partnerships.
During today's closing plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, President Bill Clinton said, "You guys have done a great thing here. Tonight you should go to bed thinking about all the people that will be alive this year because of what you did."
Tanzania is the second-largest recipient of grants from the Global Fund. Funding has enabled a critical scale-up in access to life-saving medicines for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which makes expanding distribution systems and improving logistics even more pressing. An estimated 39 percent of Global Fund grants worldwide have been used on procurement of pharmaceuticals and other health products. This amounts to a cumulative expenditure of more than US$ 4.5 billion since 2002.
"The success of this project demonstrates our belief in the power of civil society, government and the private sector working together to solve real global problems. It's what we call the 'golden triangle,'" said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca‑Cola Company. "This collaboration uses our global business expertise to help solve critical logistical requirements for the delivery of medicines to reach the most remote parts of Africa."
Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of the Global Fund, said: "Unfortunately, when medicine is available, it doesn't always reach the people who need it. Supply chains in remote parts of the world often don't work efficiently, and that can mean that deaths that should be prevented still occur. What we noticed was that Coca‑Cola's products always seemed to get to every remote regions and we thought that if they could get their product there, with their support, maybe we could too."
Building on the successes in Tanzania, the project has expanded to Ghana, to improve access to essential medicines and vaccines. Additionally, a partnership with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been established as Project Last Mile continues to expand to other regions. In scaling up into Mozambique partners will leverage an existing collaboration between Coca‑Cola and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
"We are proud to join this high-impact public-private partnership with an eye towards expanding into other countries," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "Leveraging Coca‑Cola's core business expertise and distribution channels has the potential to significantly improve how we bring life-saving products to the hardest-to-reach parts of the world."
The idea for the "Project Last Mile" partnership began in 2009 when the Global Fund approached Coca‑Cola to learn from its logistical expertise and address distribution challenges faced in Tanzania. Partners announced the first phase of the partnership at CGI's 2010 Annual Meeting with The Coca‑Cola Company committing to help maximize delivery of vital drugs, medicines and medical supplies to the people who need them most. That commitment has been delivered and exceeded expectations.
The Coca‑Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca‑Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca‑Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system employees. For more information, please visit www.coca-colacompany.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo.
The Global Fund is an international financing institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. The Global Fund promotes partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities, the most effective way to help reach those in need. This innovative approach relies on country ownership and performance-based funding, meaning that people in countries implement their own programs based on their priorities and the Global Fund provides financing where verifiable results are achieved.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has approved funding of US$ 22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. To date, programs supported by the Global Fund have provided AIDS treatment for 3.6 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.3 million people and 270 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts in dealing with the three diseases.
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