Final Visit to Zambia – Week 3

Sunday 25-Jun-2023 to Saturday 1-Jul-2023

This week we released ourselves from our self-imposed COVID lockdown. We started going out again and meetings were back on.

BongoHive workshopThe big event of the week was an all-day, hands-on workshop at BongoHive. BongoHive is a very exciting local organisation. A hub for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Current themes are co-creation and open innovation. Kapumpe Musakanya (see below) put us in contact a few weeks before our visit and since then we’ve been working together with BongoHive on a workshop entitled “From co-creation to institutionalisation” based on the Kit Yamoyo Story. We started the day with a keynote on what we did and key lessons learnt and then in the afternoon we went into how we operated and participants got hands-on experience using some of the tools we used to co-create and institutionalise Kit Yamoyo.

BongoHive workshop (example flip chart) BongoHive flip chart

It was great to handover these tools and techniques to an enthusiastic (young) audience.

Before the BongoHive event, and purely by chance, we met with Kapumpe Musakanya (President of Live Well). He happened to walk by when we were eating out on Tuesday evening. That sort of thing would never happen in any other capital city in the World! Kapumpe has become a good friend since we first met in Oct-2010. He’s been a great sounding board for the Kit Yamoyo work and a supporter of the way we have operated in Zambia. Kapumpe introduced us to Dr Isabelle Meleki. Isabelle worked on the frontline of health service delivery in rural areas for many years and remembers when the GRZ ORS/Zinc Co-pack was first introduced and what a difference it made when it came to dispensing treatment for diarrhoea. She had no idea that the GRZ co-pack had come out of our work. She also recounted the difficulties she had when the co-packs were not available in late 2020 and 2021 when no co-packs were bought by the government. Caregivers had got used to the orange-flavoured ORS in the 200 mL sachets and wanted Zinc.

Towards the end of the week, we met up with Mulenga Muleba who, as I’ve said before on this blog, is the most generous networker I have ever met. Mulenga is now part of the team at the very exciting African driven organisations called the Africa Resource Centre – check them out. He updated us with the key developments in public health in the last five years and as usual was brimming with ideas. One was that “The Kit Yamoyo Story” should be presented at this year’s International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2023) which Zambia is hosting in November. This would be fantastic if it happened – there’s only a very, very slim chance – it would be a great platform to showcase Zambia’s achievements and advocate for the new global recommendation that ORS and Zinc should be co-packaged.

We also met with Rakesh Shah who worked for Pharmanova for the first few years of our Kit Yamoyo work. Amongst other things, he did the work that enabled Pharmanova to produce the 200 mL ORS sachets caregivers had told us they wanted.

Live Well TeamOn Thursday we finally met with Tlhalefang Gaborone and Bathesheba Mukuba of Live Well. Live Well is a social enterprise which trains “Community Health Entrepreneurs” to sell social products door-to-door in rural areas in Zambia. One of the products they sell is Kit Yamoyo. In past years Live Well’s sales have rivalled the total sales of Kit Yamoyo by the nationwide supermarket: Shoprite. And furthermore, they sell Kit Yamoyo more cheaply and on the doorstep (currently K18 vs K20 in Shoprite). However, the market has been tough in the last couple of years due to high inflation and sales have fallen. 18 Kwacha is a lot to find for a caregiver in rural areas where cash is short. We are trying to think creatively about how sales might be increased and will report on these if they come to fruition.

The rest of the time was spent preparing for the main event of the trip: The Kit Yamoyo Story event. This will celebrate the Kit Yamoyo Legacy and draw out learning points from the experience so far. The event will culminate with the handover of the Kit Yamoyo trademark to Pharmanova.