Getting Malaria Medicines to Children in Zambia

Zambia 2013

By Jennifer James

October 23, 2013

Also published by Babble

If I weren’t a writer, I would work in the logistics industry in some capacity. I relish discovering how products are efficiently routed from Point A to Point B from international mail to emergency food aid, to domestic consumer goods. That is why I was like a kid in the candy store when I visited the Central Medical Store in Lusaka, Zambia, with Malaria No More.

This warehouse located in the capital city is the official medical supplies destination for the entire country. No medicine is delivered to health posts and hospitals in Zambia before first being checked for quality standards, being properly stored at the warehouse, and then being dispersed through the Central Medical Store’s doors.

A diversity of medical supplies from vaccinations that are housed in its cold room to both male and female condoms can be found at the Central Medical Store. Coartem, Africa’s most effective malaria treatment, can also be found at the Central Medical Store. From here it is distributed throughout the country. I was able to see how the distribution of medicines for Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign starts right here in this warehouse. When Coartem is flown into the country, this is its first stop on the in-country supply chain.

You may recall from my earlier piece that Power of One allows you to donate $1 to provide a malaria test and treatment for one Zambian child. Launched this September already over $400,000 has been donated by the global public that will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zambian children.

Now that the rainy season is nigh, ensuring that all corners of Zambia receive an adequate supply of Coartem is essential to keep children, as well as expectant mothers, alive from the threat of malaria mortality. In fact, four million Zambians are at risk of contracting malaria each year. Malaria accounts for 8,000 deaths per year in Zambia – mainly children under five and expectant mothers. And malaria accounts for 30 percent of all outpatient visits.

In Zambia, as in many African countries, there are parts of the rural countryside that become completely cut off from the closest cities when the rains wash out the roads. It then becomes critical that Coartem reaches these areas before the heavy rains begin. The Zambian Ministry of Health with the aid of USAID, PMI (President’s Malaria Initiative), and other partners has created regional hubs that will make its medical supply chain more efficient, especially delivering supplies to the country’s most remote areas.

Central Medical Store Lusaka, Zambia

Coartem

Central Medical Store

Grabbing Coartem from the Top Shelves

A Palette of Coartem

Jennifer James reported on malaria, HIV and TB in Zambia as a fellow with the International Reporting Project (IRP).

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