ColaLife featured in The Mail on Sunday – credit where credit is due

ColaLife Mail on SundayWe are very pleased with this coverage in The Mail on Sunday about our nomination for Designs of the Year 2013 but I’d like to expand on it a bit. As the ‘front man’ for ColaLife I tend to get all the recognition which is not entirely fair!

The idea of piggy-backing essential medicines on the Coca-Cola distribution system was mine but many other people have contributed to moving it from a ‘cool idea’ to a reality. I would like first to mention Jane – my partner in life and ColaLife – Jane was the one to suggest using the unused space in Coca-Cola crates which has been fundamental to the final design. Jane and I have worked together to get the funding in place for the trial now underway in Zambia and now work together managing the trial.

With the basic concept in place, it was our partners at PI Global who came up with the final design which we are now using in the field. In turn, PI Global, assembled our packaging team to put the packaging into production.

We also need to acknowledge all our online supporters who have challenged us, provided expertise in the areas of health and health logistics, volunteered for us, encouraged us on our journey, fundraised and donated to the cause.

Big corporates have also got behind us and supported us in significant ways:

  1. The Coca-Cola Company and SABMiller (the largest Coca-Cola bottler) – have encouraged us to look at our value chain
  2. Johnson & Johnson – put us through their innovation boot-camp and were the first to commit to funding for the current trial
  3. Pharmanova (Zambia) – started the manufacture of small ORS sachets for the trial and have assembled the kits here in Zambia
  4. SABMiller (Zambia) – have advised on sales and marketing
  5. Honda – supported us with transport costs

The combined therapy of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc is a recommendation from WHO/UNICEF. We have taken this basic recommendation and applied a Human Centred Design approach to tailor it to the specific needs of mothers and care-givers in remote rural areas living on less than $2.00 a day.

And finally, I must mention Rohit Ramchadani. Rohit is making sure that our work generates credible evidence of what works and what doesn’t within the trial. This is crucial to our scale-up strategy which is that the big players including Ministries of Health, international opinion formers and donors take on the lessons we learn and incorporate then into the mainstream of global health.

Key innovations here are:

  1. The production of small ORS sachets more appropriate for the home treatment of diarrhoea (an Africa first)
  2. The design of the kit container to be:
    1. A measure for the water needed for mixing the ORS solution
    2. A mixing device
    3. A cup and
    4. A storage device
  3. The addition of soap to carry the prevention message

Kit components explained
Click on the image to see it full-size on Flickr

Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ our nomination on Facebook and show the judges we care!

The ColaLife Trial in Zambia (COTZ) is funded by: The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID); the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, COMESA/TMSA, Grand Challenges Canada and Honda.