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.

The Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award funding will help Last Mile Health upskill 27,000 community and frontline health workers, strengthen existing operations in Liberia and expand to Malawi and Ethiopia, providing lifesaving community-based healthcare for up to 100 million+ people and directly reaching 9 million people.

1 billion

People without access to healthcare in remote communities

27,000

Community and frontline health workers expected to be upskilled

100 million+

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

“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.

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 sub-Saharan 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 completed nearly 2 million patient visits and treated more than 300,000 children for malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia.

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.

Project updates

In FY2021, Last Mile Health, working on its national health assistance program in Liberia, was able to deploy over 3,800 frontline health workers and served more than 770,000 people since 2019 whilst also assisting with the local COVID-19 response in Malawi and Ethiopia.

In FY2022, Last Mile Health, in partnership with governments in four countries in Africa, continued to strengthen high-quality, data-driven community health systems, including the programs and policies that guide teams of health workers and health leaders to deliver high-quality care in remote communities. 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.

The past two years have been deeply challenging. Health systems have struggled under the weight of the pandemic. The health workforce shortage, already estimated at nearly 18 million people, has grown. Further, where you live has continued to determine your access to care, leaving half of the world’s population behind. The moment of global crisis presents an opportunity to reimagine a world where everyone is able to access the dignified healthcare they deserve, regardless of where they live. Health for all can be the legacy of COVID-19, if we invest in community and frontline health workers.

 

Vision for the future

Illness is universal, healthcare is not. Last Mile Health’s vision is to create a world where a health worker is within reach of everyone, everywhere.

“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