New Paper Identifies Challenges to Last Mile Supply Chain Financing in sub-Saharan Africa

February 25th, 2021 | News


A new paper written in partnership by Acasus, JSI, and Village reach details four challenges to last mile supply chain financing. The three organizations drew from their collective experience supporting last mile supply chains, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa to offer examples of how governments and donors have addressed these challenges and outline recommendations for both funders and governments.

Health supply chains in low-income countries have improved markedly thanks to major investments in recent years. Yet the failure to finance last-mile delivery too often prevents products from reaching the people for whom they are intended. Limited access to PPE where routine, essential health services are provided is only the latest example of what, even before COVID-19, is traditionally a weak link.

Decentralization of government services has further complicated this challenge, making the funding path for products much like travel on a rural road – winding, rocky and far too long. Gavi disbursed more than US$13 billion from 2000-2018 to support vaccination activities and the Global Fund mobilizes and invests more than US$4 billion a year for AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs. Adequate financing and reliable financial flows for health product distribution to the service delivery points closest to the people are necessary to realize these investments and the promise of health care for all.

COVID-19 only heightens the need to get this right. ThinkWell used data from 10 costing studies in nine different countries and found the operational costs of vaccination campaigns may increase by 49-154% during COVID-19 to ensure services can continue despite the pandemic. Layer in the cost of eventual COVID vaccines, and it is clear that now is the time to catalyze new approaches to financing last mile delivery. As stated by partners in the Sustainable Health Financing Accelerator (SHFA), “times of crisis provide a unique window of opportunity to address persistent obstacles that have long remained out of reach.”

Check out the paper here.

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