We had some very bad news late last night on the funding front which punches a massive hole in our scale-up plans, which I will blog about later, but that’s been followed by the most productive and exciting day so far.
Called our agent to check on progress of the clearing through customs of the sealing machines for the Flexi-packs. At the weekend we will be making up 115: 80 for the ‘willingness to pay’ research now underway on the Copperbelt and 35 for testing by CHAI in India, Nigeria and Uganda. Here’s the silent video we’ve produced for CHAI. It shows an ‘unbranded’, prototype Flexi-pack:
Jane was at a follow-up meeting with an international NGO, which has a long-established presence in Zambia, to talk about training their Community-based Distributors (CBDs) to sell Kit Yamoyo. These CBDs are working in one of the most remote districts of Zambia where the health status is very low. This new potential partner has taken on our training materials to test out with their first cohort, and later in the day, made an initial order of 600 kits from Pharmanova.
At the same time I was giving a presentation of our results to the Child Health Technical Working Group convened by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health. The reaction? Hugely positive.
The training of the next cohort of retailers got underway in Katete. 21 were invited, 26 turned up! Three were women. These retailers are from an area where there has been no community-based promotion and no vouchers. They all bought 5 kits each following the training from the wholesaler. The wholesaler ordered another 20 cartons from Pharmanova (700 kits).
DfID send a text to ask if we can see a visiting private health services consultant.
I get a call from the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA – was the PRA) asking if we can meet. I’d written to them at the start of the week to let them know our trial findings and inform them of our trial plans.
I meet with ZAMRA and it is brilliant. Keeping them informed about what we are doing and their attendance of our quarterly steering group meetings means we now have a strong working relationship. There is now a real ‘can-do’ attitude and an excitement at what can be achieved. We are pushing the regulatory boundaries and a few ‘regulatory firsts’ will come out for the scale-up, including the registration of a ‘kit’ rather than an individual medicine and the approval of blister pack artwork that encourages adherence and doesn’t just carry the regulatory information.
Jane met with DfID consultant and went through our trial findings and our plans for scale-up.
I travel with the DfID consultant to Pharmanova. He meets with the Sales and Marketing person and I meet with the Managing Director and Head Pharmacist to go through the outcomes of the ZAMRA meeting and discuss:
- The final modifications of the Zinc blister pack artwork
- The schedule for the ordering of the blister pack foil
- The submission to ZAMRA for the approval of the Kit Yamoyo and Screw-top and Flexi-packs
Oh, and they’ve been busy getting things started in Kabwe, Chibombo and Mazabuka Districts as well.
And at 8am tomorrow we are meeting with the UNICEF Innovation Team from Copenhagen. And then . . . a funding crisis meeting with our friends at iDE! With so much support and enthusiasm behind us, we will get through the current funding difficulty.