Coca-Cola Helps Expand Medicine Delivery In Tanzania

June 8, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

“Turn their whole culture to a mockery/give ‘em a Coca-Cola for their property,” rapped Lupe Fiasco about the affects of corporate imperialism and Western expansion. The soda company’s ubiquity throughout developing countries seemed sinister, given that people had no access to clean water and medicine but the soda was always available. But, at some point, if you can’t beat them, join them. The government supply-chain agency in Tanzania, known as the Medical Stores Department, is looking to adapt Coca-Cola’s established delivery network through the country to deliver anti-retroviral medicine to HIV infected persons in hard to reach places.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikiwete wants to expand the current distribution system of anti-retrovirals, malaria medication and other drugs from 500 places around the country to 5,000. Widening the distribution net on such a large scale could prove to be a daunting task, since Tanzania’s current distribution system is already overtaxed, Slate Magazine reports. Even the best health facilities in the country find it difficult to keep medication in stock, but both the government and the bottling company are willing to give it a try.

“The beverage giant, which opened its first bottling plant in Tanzania in 1952, has spent decades finding the most efficient way to reach distant villages and adapting to changing roadway conditions. Through three local bottling franchises, the company is sharing its distribution routes with the government supply-chain agency,” Slate reports. “The program, a public-private partnership that is now being tried in nine of the country’s regions, lets the Medical Stores Department use Coca-Cola’s delivery maps and distribution partners to create a new delivery model, with the aim of moving drugs around the country more efficiently.”

Hopefully this model can be adopted in other developing nations. Instead of having a Coke and a smile, people can have a Coke and medication. Actually, we can all smile to that.

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