Coca-Cola supply chain helps medicine reach remote regions in Africa

3 October 2012

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3 October 2012 | Adam Leach

Patients in three African nations will now receive AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria medicine through the Coca-Cola Company's supply chain following the success of a pilot project in Tanzania.

Since 2010, Project Last Mile has helped deliver life-saving drugs to Tanzanian’s through a more efficient supply chain by using Coca-Cola's proven logistics models. The public-private partnership is between the drinks company, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture Developments Partnership and Yale University’s Global Health Leadership Institute. It has so far improved access to the drugs for nearly 20 million people in the 10 regions where the revised distribution model has been implemented. It has also reduced lead times for delivery by up to 25 days and enabled Medical Stores Department, the other partner in the distribution process, to reorganise and expand its distribution network.

Since the Tanzanian pilot proved so successful, the project is now being extended across the country, delivering drugs to 70 per cent of it. It will also to deliver them in Ghana and Mozambique.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “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.”

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. Gabriel Jaramillo, general manager of The Global Fund, said: “Supply chains in remote parts of the world don’t work efficiently, and that can mean deaths that should be prevented still occur. What we noticed was that Coca-Cola’s products always seemed to get to very remote regions and we thought that if they could get their product there, with their support maybe we could too.”

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