A partnership formed amid crisis
This is where UBS stepped in. Prior to the Ebola outbreak, UBS Optimus Foundation had already been supporting Last Mile Health by conducting an evaluation to see how much impact the organization was having and if their health care model could be replicated in other locations.
When Ebola hit, Last Mile Health looked like the ideal organization to help. They were well-positioned to address the outbreak with their diagnosis trainings and they had already developed trust within Liberian communities. The UBS Philanthropy Advisory team worked to connect the project with clients who wanted to help.
Armed with the necessary support, Last Mile Health was able to work with the Liberian government to
- Train and employ over 1,300 community health care workers
- Support 38 health facilities across Liberia
- Educate health care workers and community members about how to respond to and contain the outbreak
- Distribute essential personal protective equipment including gloves, goggles and gowns to clinic staff
A future of collaboration
On 13 January, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Liberia to be Ebola free. It was not, however, the end of Last Mile Health or our collaboration with them.
The organization would go on, in collaboration with the Liberian government, to reach close to 700,000 people in more than 2,300 isolated communities and are on track to reach all 1.2 million Liberians living in remote areas by 2021. Research shows that they helped raise the treatment rates for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea to 85% and increased the percentage of women who give birth in clinics from 50% to 95%.
In 2015, Raj and the UBS Optimus Foundation were awarded a Clinton Global Citizen Award, recognizing extraordinary, visionary and inspiring leadership in solving pressing global challenges.
Last Mile Health is still supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation and UBS Philanthropy Advisory. Raj spoke at our Global Philanthropy Forum in 2017, an event which provided new ideas and chances to build collaborative partnerships.
In the future, Last Mile Health plans to grow their reach to other countries. Raj believes that if his model of professionalized community health workers were scaled up, three million lives could be saved every year in sub-Saharan Africa alone.