Last week (19-Mar-14), ColaLife’s Kit Yamoyo was featured at the Best Buys in Global Health event hosted at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. The event was held in partnership with PATH, PSI, DEVEX and Merck for Mothers, and marked the launch of the Spring edition of PSI’s Impact Magazine, “The Best Buys Issue: Where to Invest in Global Health in 2014” (see page 24 for the Kit Yamoyo feature).
Inspired by a survey of almost 1,500 health professionals (myself included) working in a variety of settings around the globe, this edition of the publication sought to uncover global health’s best investments, discuss barriers and solutions towards scaling them up, and describe related global health trends.
Some of the findings from the survey showed that:
• Health systems strengthening was considered to be the most critical investment in global health over the next 5-10 years.
The ColaLife model used a health systems approach during the design and planning phase of our work. It operates at multiple levels of the health system and takes key elements of a well functioning system into consideration, including: leadership and governance, financing, essential medical products and technologies, human resources for health, service delivery, information, market forces, innovation, transparency, donors’ agenda and funding, individuals and communities, etc.; Results from our trial found that our model complemented the existing public system by establishing alternative points of access for ORS and Zinc in the private sector – improving access and creating choice.
• Service Delivery was seen as the most important means of tackling global health challenges and maximizing impact.
We leveraged existing networks and supply-chains to improve access of essential medicines at the community level and established a value-chain for Kit Yamoyo
• Partnerships, specifically with local actors, were seen as critical to improving global health, and vital in delivering improved results.
The majority of ColaLife’s key partners (past, present, and future) are local: Pharmanova, Keepers Zambia Foundation, the Ministry of Health, iDE Zambia, Zoona, SABMiller Zambia, Medical Stores Limited (MSL), UNICEF Zambia, Wholesalers, Retailers, Caregivers, CIDRZ, Dimagi, Trade Kings…
• Public Private Partnerships are essential and will continue to play a major role in global health.
Our model builds on public-private partnerships, and emphasises multi-sectoral partnerships
• More funding needs to be invested in research and development. This includes R&D for innovative product development as well as research to learn from and better understand what we are already doing.
Too often, development projects are implemented with little regard to measuring and evaluating their impact, what worked and what didn’t. The ColaLife trial was built around a rigorous platform of operational research which allowed us to learn as much as we could about the model. Findings from the trial are crucial to informing scale-up (both design and merit of), expanding the global health knowledge base, stakeholder engagement, and more. This survey finding definitely resonates with us, as one of the outstanding challenges currently facing us is to acquire funding for the research component of our scale-up plan.
• Finally, and perhaps one of the findings we didn’t completely agree with, was the ordering of reasons for why health technologies don’t reach consumers. Overall, survey respondents seemed less concerned about the product design relative to other factors.
While the reasons cited were all relevant, our research showed that the design of the technology can have a major influence on effective utilisation. Specifically, we found that 93% of Kit Yamoyo users mixed ORS correctly. This was largely due to the human-centred design of the kit (ie The Kit Yamoyo packaging acts as a measuring, mixing, and drinking vessel for the ORS). Only 60% of those who used a 1 litre sachet (from the health centre) mixed it in the correct concentration.
The publication also includes some interesting articles relating to the following topics, many of which touch on key ColaLife themes:
- The private sector and health systems strengthening
- Advancing global health through innovation
- Human-centered design
- Benefits of public-private partnerships in global health; and
- Seeking balance (this applies on multiple levels)
In addition to the release of the publication, the event included two panel discussions. The first focused on What Makes an Investment Successful, while the second focused on Today’s Innovations – Where to Invest in Global Health in 2014. One of the main take-aways is that a “best buy in global health” can be defined in many ways, and that often depends on who is defining it – public vs. private, donor vs. implementer, consumer vs. provider.
Here are some of Rohit’s key tweets during the event:
You can check out additional related conversation on Twitter using the following hashtag: #BestBuys4GH, and you can watch the panel discussions from the event here:
A big thanks to our friends at PATH for inviting us to be involved.
Till next time.
Image credits: Infographics are from Issue 16 of PSI Impact Magazine
The data contained in this blog post are unpublished and based on preliminary analysis of data from the ColaLife Operational Trial in Zambia (COTZ). Final calculations may vary and will be published in peer reviewed literature in due course. In the interim, the following citation may be used: Ramchandani, R. et al. (2014). ColaLife Operational Trial Zambia (COTZ) Evaluation. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. Related correspondence should be sent to Rohit Ramchandani (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copied to Simon Berry (email@example.com).