Engaging Local Shopkeepers for Last-Mile Delivery of Medical Supplies in Hard-to-Reach Areas
Zawadi Mageni of the Ifakara Health Institute in the United Republic of Tanzania will train local shopkeepers to deliver essential medical supplies to remote areas. Delivery of health products to hard-to-reach areas is problematic due to the poor surrounding transport infrastructure, which suffers further during the rainy seasons. This often means that essential products are out of stock. However, shopkeepers in these areas, with their local knowledge and support, still regularly travel to their central suppliers to maintain their own stocks. These shopkeepers could also be used to deliver medical supplies. They will identify test villages in Tanzania, and the location of medical stores for pick-up points. They will develop a database to map the local health centers and establish an inventory of their medical supplies. Selected shopkeepers will be enrolled and trained, and they will evaluate their approach for avoiding stock-outs of medical products.