Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award

Last Mile Health

The Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award supports five organisations that are addressing areas of significant social need through bold projects that promise lasting community benefit.

Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award funding is helping Last Mile Health support up to 14,000 community and frontline health workers, strengthen existing operations in Liberia and expand to Malawi and Ethiopia, providing lifesaving community-based healthcare for more than 100 million people and directly reaching up to 17 million people.

1 billion

people without access to healthcare in remote communities

14,000

community and frontline health workers expected to be supported

100 million+

people in Liberia, Ethiopia and Malawi will have access to community-based primary healthcare

In this video, hear from Dalitso Baloyi, Country Director, Malawi for Last Mile Health as he talks about the organisation’s mission to expand access to high-quality, primary healthcare for remote communities across Africa.

Vision for the future

Illness is universal; healthcare is not. The World Health Organisation estimates that half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. This has a devastating impact on health outcomes, with millions of people dying every year from preventable causes. Ensuring access to quality, community-based primary health services for people living in the world’s remote communities poses many challenges, including the growing shortage of skilled healthcare providers and low investments in national health systems.

Last Mile Health is tackling this issue by expanding access to primary healthcare for remote communities in Africa. Its approach is to partner with governments to train national networks of community and frontline health workers. Serrena, who lives in a community of 800 people in Liberia, is one of those health workers. After completing her training, gaining access to high-quality and low-cost diagnostic tools such as malaria testing kits that only cost as much as one dollar, and receiving regular supervision, she’s able to provide home-based primary health care to her community.

In Liberia, health workers like Serrena have now conducted over 11 million patient visits and delivered over one million treatments for malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia to children under five.

There is an incredible opportunity to scale this work globally. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Global Health showed that if we were able to train and equip teams of community and frontline health workers to expand rural coverage of at least 30 primary health services, we could save at least 30 million additional lives by 2030.

Last Mile Health’s vision is to create a world where a health worker is within reach of everyone, everywhere.

Project updates

In FY2023, in Malawi, where Macquarie catalysed Last Mile Health’s work, the organisation assisted the Government to develop the second National Community Health Framework, which will ensure the program delivers essential primary health services to every person – no matter where they live. Last Mile Health also participated in the design and pilot of an integrated Community Health Information System that provides robust decision support and data collection capabilities for frontline health workers.

In Ethiopia, Last Mile Health showcased the cost-effective, timely and engaging results from the innovative blended training model, which incorporates digital training tools and holds the potential to improve training for up to 40,000 Community Health Workers.

In Liberia, Last Mile Health continues to partner with the Government to scale the Community Health Worker program. In March 2023, the organisation assisted the Ministry of Health in hosting the third annual International Symposium on Community Health Workers and signed on to the Monrovia Call to Action.

In FY2022, Last Mile Health, in partnership with governments in four countries in Africa, continued to strengthen high-quality, data-driven community health systems, demonstrating the importance of this work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 4.5 million people were served by community health workers that were supervised, skilled, supplied or salaried in partnership between a Ministry of Health and Last Mile Health. Community health workers continued to deliver essential primary healthcare to their patients during the pandemic, showing us that health for all can be the legacy of COVID-19 if we invest in community and frontline health workers.

In FY2021, Last Mile Health and the Ministry of Health in Liberia deployed over 3,800 frontline health workers serving more than 770,000 people, whilst also assisting with the local COVID-19 response in Malawi and Ethiopia.

“We have the solution. We know community health works. You can see it in the line of sustained health services throughout the pandemic – when properly equipped, community health workers have continued to show up. We just need the will to do the same. I am hopeful that, as an international community of donors, implementers, and governments, we will keep showing up and see this through.”

Lisha McCormick, CEO, Last Mile Health

“Last Mile Health’s commitment has consistently been to make sure that healthcare is within reach of everyone, everywhere. We do that because we know that nearly half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services.”

Lisha McCormick
Chief Executive Officer, Last Mile Health

This video was filmed in September 2021.