Coca-Cola helps deliver AIDS drugsWhen AIDS advocates in Africa noticed that Coca-Cola products were available in remote African villages, it sparked the idea that perhaps the company's supply chain experts could assist in delivering life-saving drugs to AIDS victims. The drugs are typically hard to come by, especially in the outlying regions of poor countries. In some regions, it is not uncommon for the drugs to take 30 days to get through a nonprofit's supply chain before arriving at their final destination.

Seeking help from a global supplier
In 2009, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria asked Coke for assistance improving the organization's supply chain. The company agreed to help with a project in 2010, and the corporation worked with the Global Fund, Tanzania's Medical Stores Department, the Gates Foundation and Accenture Development Partnerships to get life-saving drugs to far-flung villages in Africa.

"What we noticed was that Coca-Cola's products always seemed to get to every remote region, and we thought that if they could get their products there, with their support, maybe we could, too," said Gabriel Jaramillo, the Global Fund's general manager, according to the Daily Beast.

Improving supply chains
The drug supply chain hasn't been perfected, according to a study from the Yale School of Public Health. However, it has greatly improved access to medication in rural regions. Ill patients now have an 80 percent chance of receiving the correct medication, up dramatically from only a 50 percent chance two years ago. While the old delivery systems took a month to get drugs to the correct area, supply chains have been optimized and delivery time is now estimated at merely five days.

Coca-Cola isn't doing all the work for the project - they give expert advice and input, but Tanzania's Medical Stores Department is chipping in and having its employees learn the basics of supply chain management, logistics and distribution. However, the project doesn't only involve learning about how supply chains operate. All the partners are working to develop infrastructure in poorer developing areas, so Coke products and medications can more easily get where they're needed most.

Due to the success of this program, it has expanded to Ghana and Mozambique, where supply chains are still too underdeveloped to get rural residents the drugs they need. By working with one of the world's largest distributors, groups looking to expand access to AIDS medication have developed a new system to better serve ill patients in remote regions.
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