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24 June 2014 | Will Green
Coca-Cola is to extend a scheme that uses its supply chain expertise to get medicine to remote parts of Africa to include 10 countries.
The firm, alongside partners the US Agency for International Development, the Global Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, plans to invest $21 million (£12.4 million) to expand its 'Project Last Mile' over the next five years.
The project already covers Tanzania and Ghana and the next country to benefit will be Mozambique. The seven additional countries are currently being identified, said Coca-Cola.
Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, said: “Africa has been a vital part of our business for more than 85 years and we’re committed to doing our part to help people across Africa live healthier and more active lives.
“We know our business can only be as strong as the communities we serve, and we’re honoured to use Coca-Cola’s expertise to improve the distribution of medicine and medical supplies.”
Under the scheme, government agencies managing the procurement and distribution of medicines and vaccines to tackle illnesses such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, benefit from private sector expertise to forecast demand, ensure availability and maintain cold chain equipment.
Cosmas Mwaifwani, director general of the Medical Stores Department in Tanzania, said since 2010 the project had enabled them to efficiently reach more than 5,500 health facilities and increase the availability of medicines in clinics by up to 30 per cent.
“As a result of Last Mile we have been able to implement professional practices that have improved our planning, distribution and performance management processes,” he said. “This has improved our capability to consistently deliver critical medical supplies throughout Tanzania.”