Reaching the last mile: The future of medicine access for everyone
According to the World Health Organization, much of the world’s burden of disease can be prevented or cured with known, affordable technologies. The problem is getting drugs, vaccines, information and other forms of prevention, care or treatment — on time, reliably, in sufficient quantity and at reasonable cost — to those who need them.
Universal health coverage requires universal access to medicines, vaccines and other health commodities. Over the last 30 years, and especially in the last decade, tremendous effort and funding has gone into improving the availability of contraceptives and other reproductive health commodities, of essential medicines to treat HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, and of new vaccines and new presentations of traditional vaccines.
Millions of lives have been saved or improved. But there’s still a long way to go, especially in reaching every person, every community at the last mile, in a way that saves lives, empowers communities, and builds resilient and equitable health systems.
Supply chains play a central role in achieving the goal of universal health coverage, and we have seen that the best practices applied in the past to get systems organized — assessments, system designs, standard operating procedures, capacity building, product integration — must evolve to include new tools, technologies and approaches.
- Health Care