Mission: To save lives in the world's most remote communities by empowering community health workers to serve those who lack access to health care.
About the Organization: Last Mile Health was founded in 2012 by American health workers and survivors of Liberia's civil war — which by its end in 2003 had left the West African country of four million with only fifty doctors — to provide basic health care in remote communities. To that end, the organization works with governments to develop and manage national networks of community health workers who can bridge the gap between a country’s public-sector health system and remote communities that otherwise would have no or limited access to health care. The organization's vision is global: a health worker within reach of everyone, everywhere, every day.
The organization's roots go back to 2007, when six Libyans co-founded Tiyatien Health ("justice in health," in a local language) to seek truth and justice for Liberia's rural poor. In 2009, with only $6,000 in seed money, Tiyatien Health launched the first rural HIV program in Liberia, treating patients in a war-torn building in Zwedru. Realizing that the greatest public health needs were concentrated in the "last mile," the organization began to recruit, train, equip, manage, and pay community members to provide lifesaving health services to their neighbors. Established as Last Mile Health with headquarters in Boston, the organization subsequently worked with the Liberian government to address the 2013 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, training more than thirteen hundred community health workers and community members to contain and prevent the deadly disease from spreading.
Current Programs: The organization's program for training and deploying community health workers is based on a five-step model: recruit talent from within remote communities; train community health workers through four standardized modules (infectious disease surveillance and response; reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health; child health; and first aid and support for adults with HIV/AIDs, TB, and select neglected tropical diseases); strengthen supply chain, communication, and transportation systems to ensure that community health workers have the drugs, tools, and forms needed to provide lifesaving health care; support the government in managing clinically trained supervisors who provide community health workers with one-on-one mentorship and ensure correct diagnoses and treatments; and pay the community health workers for their work and commitment.
In 2019, the organization plans to launch the Community Health Academy, which will provide free online courses for community health workers via mobile phones equipped with diagnostic and tracking tools. The academy also plans to offer a suite of free online courses for health systems leaders focused on building national programs and systems to support community health workers.
Website: Visitors to the Last Mile Health site can learn more about the organization's work and strategy for ensuring healthcare access for the most remote communities in the world, sign up to receive updates, learn how to get involved, and/or make a donation.