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Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children

by ColaLife
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Lifesaving AidPods for 65,000 African children
Mr Banda is quick to grasp an opportunity!
Mr Banda is quick to grasp an opportunity!

This month's report is straight from our field worker in Katete District - Elias Lungu - who is very impressed with one of our newly recruited retailers....

Mr Banda runs a tiny shop in Chipopela village, about 50 km north west of Katete town in eastern Zambia – and more than 8 hours from the capital, Lusaka. Born in 1967, he only went up to Grade 7 at primary school due to financial constraints. He is married with 6 children.

Mr Banda started his business in 2000 and has been in his current shop since 2010. Once or twice a month, he sets off to Katete town to buy the groceries that people in his remote village rely on: soap, sugar, exerices books, pens, biscuits and pain-killers. He heard about Kit Yamoyo on the radio last year and travelled the whole distance into town, just to inquire from our field office what Kit Yamoyo was all about and how he could be involved.

The team responded with plans to include his community in our scale-up phase. In September 2013, the district stakeholder meeting recommended seven new communities to work in – including his. He quickly got the good news through the radio, and again came to the office for confirmation: this one is keen, we thought!

Donations through Global Giving can help us support retailer training - and, together with 16 other retailers, Mr Banda came in October to learn about the Kit Yamoyo AidPod and how to avoid the dangers of dehydration. Immediately, he bought a whole boxful to take back to his shop. Within 3 weeks, he had sold over 20, and by early February he had sold 80. His nearby friend, had sold over 60. As the project has yet to launch the second phase of vouchers, these have all been cash sales, at 5 Kwacha (~$1). But Mr Banda says people appreciate having access to modern medicine so far from town, and many will buy when they need it, rather than make a long trip with a sick child.

He tells us: ‘When I just came from training, I started informing people at church, community and village meetings. I took advantage of those gatherings to advertise – even at funerals where many people gather. Secondary, I have been getting involved in clinic meetings for children in our village and I have also been informing the clinic staff to help refer all the diarrhoea patients to my shop, especially when the clinic is out of stock.  I tell my customers to inform as many people as possible about this new product and how much they like it. And I make sure I have not less than 10 Kit Yamoyos in stock all the time.

Mr Banda assures us that Chipopela villagers are delighted someone has taken the trouble to understand their needs and the challenges in their lives, and has designed a medicine for the everyday problem of diarrhoea that is easy to understand and use, affordable, and now available within their own community.  Mr Banda clearly knows a good business opportunity when he sees one!

Elias (right) supporting trainees
Elias (right) supporting trainees
A happy customer on his way home with his AidPod
A happy customer on his way home with his AidPod
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Mothers get vouchers in rural Kalomo
Mothers get vouchers in rural Kalomo

In 4 days, our first trial in Zambia comes to an end - and it's the time of year to say 'Thanks' to everyone who has helped us, see what we have achieved and look ahead to what we can do next year.

Two years ago, as non-health professionals, Simon and I set out to see whether we could design an attractive, affordable, anti-diarrhoea kit, containing ORS and Zinc, to save children's lives. Those 2 years have transported our designs from our kitchen table to the United Nations, taken 25,000 'Kit Yamoyo' to some of the remotest communities in Zambia, and have now taken Simon to Uganda, India and South Africa to guage future interest (while I'm here writing the end of project reports!).

We could hardly have guessed when we began that in our first trial areas, we would:

  • increase use of the 'gold standard' diarrhoea treatment from close to 0% to 45% of children
  • shorten the distance mothers have to travel to get medicine by more than two thirds
  • help nearly all of our customers (94%) to mix ORS correctly, using the kit's package

There is still more work to do, and on December 1, we will be ready to start Phase 2. Two of our major funders have now confirmed support, and we will have the final piece in place in a week or so.  Our ambition is to cover the whole of Zambia in 3 years - including communities in towns and the city of Lusaka.  

ColaLife - Simon and I - plan to stay in Zambia for another year, helping our local frontline NGO partners to develop the market in their area, and our Zambian manufacturing partner, Pharmanova, to scale up production to serve the emerging market for Kit Yamoyo. And when Simon gets back from his travels, will we have another country to take on the challenge?  Meanwhile, our brand new product now has its very own barcode: we hope that the big supermarket chains here will also buy Kit Yamoyo - creating the economies of scale we need to drive down the price. We now know that more that 2/3 of mothers and carers in our trial areas are willing to pay K5.00 (about a dollar) for the kit at their local shop, rather than carrying their sick child many kilometres to the health centre. And for those who can't afford it, we know that giving vouchers out will create demand and encourage shop-keepers to bring the kit to remote communities.

That's where YOU come in: as we start the holiday season, why not buy a pack of ten Kit Yamoyo AidPods on behalf of your friends and colleagues? Just $10 will buy ten vouchers for mothers in rural villages, and each voucher will put money into the hands of a local shop keeper and life-saving medicine into a mother's hands.

Send your greeting by email or print your gift card here.

Happy Holidays!

Jane and Simon


A note on the data in this post

Cited data are interim results from the ColaLife Operational Trial in Zambia (COTZ) and do not reflect the final report which will be published as Ramchandani et al. Final calculations may vary.

Dads get vouchers too!
Dads get vouchers too!
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Mr Banda interviews a mother, shaded by a tree.
Mr Banda interviews a mother, shaded by a tree.

Great news this month!

Firstly, we have recieved a very generous donation from Packaging World and Healthcare Packaging, to help us co-fund 5,000 more Kit Yamoyo Aidpods! This means we can raise our target again - to help at least 20,000 children in our next phase - which we hope to begin this December.

Secondly, Claire Ward, Director of a documentary about our work The Cola Road, has won Best Director at the AOF film festival in California. The Cola Road was Claire's first documentary, made as part of her Masters project. Although ColaLife is very small, we do love to involve young people from across the world where we can, to support their career and help our cause. It's great to see a 'win-win' like this, and we have another one in the pipeline that we hope to announce next month!

Rohit Ramchandani, another of our fantastic young collaborators and doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University, is with us in Zambia at the moment. He's out in the field for 12-15 hours at a time in remote areas - a full day's travel from the capital, Lusaka - overseeing and supporting the evaluation team as they go from house to house collecting data for our endline survey. After our first year, what impact are we having?  We can't wait to see the results. Every evening he phones us - when he can get through - with stories and insights from distant communities who are using Kit Yamoyo to save their children's lives. It's early in the process, but things are looking good.

Finally, YOU can help us this month! Each new recurring donation pledged before 30th August will be matched for this month only, by an anonymous donor. You can double your impact, pledging as little as $10 or up to $200 - provided it recurrs for at least 4 months. Every little helps, and recurring donations, however small, help us to plan ahead and work even smarter!

With many thanks for your continued support!

Best wishes

Jane and Simon Berry

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Alfred sells a Kit Yamoyo to a local mother
Alfred sells a Kit Yamoyo to a local mother

After only 8 months with Global Giving, YOU have helped us to raise nearly $10,000 - enough to co-fund Kit Yamoyo AidPods for 10,000 Zambian children. Thank you!

As the project in Zambia is going really well, our donor agencies* are now looking at supporting us in a scale-up across the country. And they are very impressed by the co-funding raised by you - across USA, UK and beyond. So, we are increasing our target of co-funding 10,000 AidPods to 15,000. We know that with your help we can acheive this.

Why is it so important for children in remote, rural areas to have easy access to one of our AidPods via a local shop?

In Zambia, diarrhoea in children is not just a nuisance. It's a killer - of around 11,000 children a year. It also steals a child's potential - those who are stunted by age 2 cannot reverse the damage, and will never meet their full potential of physical and mental development. Nearly half of all children in Zambia are stunted and diarrhoea is a big contributing factor.

So, what can a mother do? In the whole of Zambia (13 million people) there are fewer than 70 retail pharmacies - and nearly all are in the main towns. Nearly half of the rural population live more than 5km walk to a pubic health clinic. Even if a mother with a sick child walks that far, the chances are that she will find even basic medicines out of stock. So, we've trained over 80 shop keepers in remote rural areas to stock Kit Yamoyo and advise their customers on what to do. They have so far sold an amazing 23,000 Kits - containing Oral Rehydration Salts, an essential micronutrient - Zinc - and soap. This is bringing health as well as wealth into the local economy.

Our latest results show, that by supplying Kit Yamoyo AidPods in local village shops in Zambia, we have:

  • increased children's use of the 'gold standard' for diarrhoea treatment. In our target districts, this has jumped from zero to over 40% in only 6 months
  • reduced distance mothers/carers need to walk to get treatment, by more than half, as they can obtain Kit Yamoyo near their home
  • shortened treatment delay for diarrhoea from ≈2 days (before we started) to ≈1 day (after our first 6 months). Quick treatment for a dehydrated child is vital, so this is a big win!
  • improved the perception of ORS efficacy - through more accurate preparation of ORS solution, due to the pack's measuring function. We found that (conservatively) a third to a half of mothers using a traditional litre ORS sachet mixed it wrongly, whereas more than 90% of those using Kit Yamoyo mix it correctly.

 * Donor agencies for the first trial - reported here - include the UK's Department for International Development; Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, Grand Challenges Canada, and COMESA/TMSA, with advice and support from a range of corporates and UNICEF. You can help us fund the next phase!

Shadrick from remote Kagoro shows off his stock
Shadrick from remote Kagoro shows off his stock
Kit Yamoyo is here! Queue at Chison Banda's shop
Kit Yamoyo is here! Queue at Chison Banda's shop
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Rohit finds out about health impacts
Rohit finds out about health impacts

2013 has been a fantastic year so far for ColaLife and our work in Zambia, thanks to our many supporters all over the world. Not only have we won two major awards, but the first solid data is coming in from our midline evaluation and it is looking promising.

Going out into the field is a challenge – with treacherous roads and 12 hour days; setting off at dawn and returning after dark. Yet, in all, our survey team of 20 local enumerators and their supervisors visited over 2,500 households and nearly 80 of our retailers.

Our evaluation is being managed by UNICEF Zambia and executed in the field by a local organization called RuralNet Associates. The evaluation was designed and is being led by ColaLife's Public Health Advisor and our Canadian Principal Investigator, Rohit Ramchandani, who is using the research as the basis for his doctoral thesis at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

The midline data is in the process of being analyzed, but here's an early glimpse especially for our GlobalGiving supporters:

  • Of those children in our intervention districts who had diarrhoea in the 2 weeks preceding the survey, 43% used Kit Yamoyo. We are really pleased with this coverage, for such a new product.
  • We also found, as suspected, that mothers who use traditional 1 litre sachets of Oral Rehyration Salts, have trouble measuring it correctly - only around half our respondents did. On the other hand, Kit Yamoyo makes it very easy to measure an appropriate amount for a child, at exactly the right concentration
  • Kit Yamoyo supplies an essential micro-nutrient - Zinc - and this is leading to an increase in use. Nearly all of those who gave their children Zinc from Kit Yamoyo were doing so for the first time.

Since we began distributing Kit Yamoyo in September 2012, the retailers we have trained have bought over 21,000 of our ‘Kit Yamoyo’ AidPods – in two of the most rural and under-served districts in Zambia, where the public sector really struggles to get medicines distributed. This represents total micro-retailer investment of 80,000 Kwacha (or just under $15,000). Three quarters of our retailers said they had Kit Yamoyo in stock at the time of the survey; this is very encouraging in a country where stock outs are common in local clinics, and where mothers have to carry their sick children long distances, only to find there is no medicine available.

It is easy to see why our retailers are investing their limited resources in ‘Kit Yamoyo’: not only is it helping to address the number one concern in their communities – childhood diarrhoea – but also each one is earning on average $14 a month gross profit. That's a lot in a rural household - and can mean the difference between well-nourished and under-nourished children. Our top retailers are earning an astounding $50-$70 a month gross profit. Our aim is to encourage this independence and sustainability for the long term.

It's not always easy getting started!
It's not always easy getting started!
The road has disappeared!
The road has disappeared!
Interviewing a retailer behind his shop
Interviewing a retailer behind his shop
Interviewing a rural mother
Interviewing a rural mother
A mother gives her child Kit Yamoyo ORS
A mother gives her child Kit Yamoyo ORS
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Organization Information

ColaLife

Location: London, Greater London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @colalife
Project Leader:
Simon Berry
Lusaka, Lusaka Province Zambia
$54,543 raised of $65,000 goal
 
746 donations
$10,457 to go
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