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  • Awarded: 2017
  • Issue Areas: Health · Health Delivery · Youth Job Skills
  • Countries Served: Liberia
  • Web: lastmilehealth.org
  • About the Organization

    In developing countries, people who live more than an hour’s walk from the nearest health clinic are at increased risk of dying from preventable or treatable diseases. Health ministries often try to serve these populations by mobilizing community health workers (CHWs), but are unable to support them with adequate pay, training, diagnostic tools, medicines, and supplies.

    Last Mile Health partners with government to deploy and manage networks of community health professionals integrated into the public health system. With training in maternal and child health, family planning, treatment adherence, and surveillance of epidemics, together with mentorship from nurse supervisors, these CHWs deliver high quality healthcare to remote communities.

    Newborn mortality has decreased, and the percentage of children receiving treatment for diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia has increased. As a result of this success, Last Mile Health now supports the Liberian Ministry of Health to implement the approach nationwide, preparing policy documents, training curricula and impact measurement tools, and coordinating with NGO partners.

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    Families who live far from rural health clinics suffer disproportionate rates of maternal and child mortality from preventable diseases.

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    Last Mile Health assures delivery of health services by well-trained community providers supported and supervised by the national Ministry of Health.

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    Raj Panjabi envisions collaboration among governments, NGOs, and finance agencies to support professionalized community health workers in all of the world’s remote communities.

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    National scale-up of the Last Mile Health model is expected to reach all of Liberia’s remote communities by 2020.

    Ambition for Change

    Throughout the developing world, governments, NGOs and development finance institutions work in partnership to mobilize professionalized community health teams to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare in all remote communities, and prevent pandemic outbreaks.

    Path to Scale

    Partnerships and independent replication

    Achieve global adoption by demonstrating the ability to achieve national coverage in Liberia, documenting the business case for the model, and providing technical assistance to partners.

    Business Model

    Philanthropic and government contract support for central operations and direct service related to building the model. Implementing partners assume costs of large scale operations.

    Dr. Raj Panjabi is an Associate Physician at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Co-Founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, which he founded with help from seed money collected at his wedding reception. At age nine, Raj escaped a civil war in his home country of Liberia. He returned in 2005 to find a devastated health care system where 51 doctors served a population of 4 million. He worked with the Ministry of Health, serving as adviser to the deputy minister and as a clinician in rural government health facilities where he discovered that medical resources were disproportionately accessible. In 2007, he founded Last Mile Health which expanded its vision and reach during the 2014 Ebola crisis, pushing the Liberian government to commit to a model of community health workers accessing even the most remote communities. Raj wants to see a world where healthcare is available to each of the billion or so living in the most inaccessible parts of the developing world. He has been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, a TED Prize winner, and Fortune Magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • To date has reached 52,000 people in 308 remote communities, in nine Liberian health districts.
    • Government adoption of Last Mile Health model will reach all 1.2M remote people of Liberia by 2019
    • Studies have documented reductions in infant mortality, tenfold increase in the percentage of children receiving treatment for diarrhea and pneumonia, and doubling the percentage of children receiving treatment for malaria.

    Affiliated

    Amy WalburnDirector of Partnerships & Development, Last Mile Health
    Lisha McCormickChief Development Officer, Last Mile Health
    Raj PanjabiChief Executive Officer, Last Mile Health

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