June 5, 2013

Transferring Knowledge: The Public/Private Partnership

GHLI staff met with personnel at Coca-Cola Kwanza
as part of a new public-private partnership. 
Kristina Talbert-Slagle, PhD,
Associate Research Scientist, GHLI

Our GHLI team recently traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to conduct interviews on progress made in a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the Medical Stores Department (MSD) in Tanzania. The goal of this public/private joining is to transfer expertise from The Coca-Cola Company to MSD on how to deliver products in hard-to-reach areas, in order to improve access to medicines throughout Tanzania.

On our first day, we interviewed local bottlers from Coca-Cola Kwanza to learn more about how they share their knowledge of product delivery with MSD. Particularly striking to me was the level of commitment to the project from these individuals, who told us touching stories about the work they had done with their fellows at MSD, how motivated they felt to improve access to medicines in Tanzania, and how happy they were to give their personal and professional time to this project.

One person told us how, growing up in Uganda, he had watched people die from lack of medicine, and so he understood on a deeply personal level the importance of this project, and he was committed to giving it whatever time and energy it took in order to help save lives.

We also interviewed staff members at MSD to hear their perspectives on changes that have resulted from this partnership. We came away excited about all the good work and good ideas that have been put in place in the most recent phase of this ongoing collaboration.

I later visited an MSD warehouse to witness piloting of a route for medical delivery that was developed using new network optimization software and the process to get materials distributed. I also got a firsthand look at what challenges remain in implementing network optimization, such as incorrect GPS codes and extremely slow data processing software.

We came away from Tanzania inspired by the good work that has been done in improving delivery of medicines, and we look forward to sharing our findings in our research publications and online case over the coming months.

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