In Mozambique, where over 70% of the population lives in rural and remote areas, communities are often cut off from essential public infrastructure and health services.

“Seeing a sick patient leave without receiving any medication, without treating them makes me sad,” says Lizete Mulieca, a maternity nurse working in a rural health facility in Zambezia province, Mozambique.

But over the past five years thanks to Project Last Mile, a powerful cross-sector partnership, far-flung communities across Africa are getting access to medicines to treat the most devastating of diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The programme is a unique partnership between The Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Foundation, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It leverages Coca-Cola's logistical, supply chain management and marketing expertise to support African governments in delivering life-saving medicines and supplies along the ‘last mile’ – to the hardest-to-reach communities.

Now Project Last Mile can go the next mile, as The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundation has renewed its support for the partnership by committing additional in-kind and financial support for the next five years. 

Following an initial investment of more than US$21 million by partners in 2014, Project Last Mile has provided support to ten countries in Africa. The powerful coalition of public, private, civil society and academic partners will deepen its investment in current countries, while aiming to launch at least five new programs over the next five years. 

Over the past five years Project Last Mile has applied Coca-Cola’s extensive route-to-market and logistics expertise to develop a more efficient and sustainable distribution network for health commodities following the Ebola crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also supported the Ministry of Health in Mozambique to redesign distribution and delivery networks to amplify the impact of a $515 million-dollar investment in the national health system by the Global Fund.

Other projects include supporting the National Department of Health in South Africa to build innovative distribution models for chronic medication improving access and quality of services for two million patients across the country and leveraging Coca-Cola’s marketing expertise to increase awareness and demand for HIV prevention services across high-risk populations in eSwatini, Lesotho, and South Africa.

The partnership taps into Coca-Cola’s vast networks of successful service providers and cutting-edge innovations to reduce the supply and demand barriers governments face in delivering critical health commodities and services.

“By breaking down barriers in delivering medicines and accessing health services to those who need them most, we are hoping to save more lives faster,” said Maserame Mouyeme, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director for Coca-Cola Southern and Eastern Africa. “We are fully committed to supporting inspiring objectives such as the Global Fund’s to end the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030.”