Making More Health and LastMile – a Co-Creation that matters

Our colleague Herbert Pohle joined the first Making More Health (MMH) leadership week held in October 2019 in Kenya. One of the visits during the week was to our MMH projects with farmer cooperatives in western Kenya. Seeing the local situation with his own eyes, Herbert felt the desperate need to take immediate action, so he reached out to the local team to find a solution for the farmers. Despite being scattered across the country, three team members joined the leadership group within a day.

The team drew on MMH’s network to gain the trust of the Bungoma county government and improve cooperation. Meeting with the deputy governor, the government’s readiness to work together was evident. After this needs assessment meeting, the team conducted training on basic animal health principles throughout the county, in the process establishing trust in the community. “Nothing is more rewarding than seeing understanding in people’s eyes,” Herbert explains. Herbert’s engagement has led to setting up an ongoing animal health training program for farmers. Smallholder farmers in remote areas in Africa have limited or no access to high-quality veterinary products and lack adequate knowledge of safe and healthy animal husbandry. Untreated livestock diseases cause severe losses, negatively affecting the livelihoods of the farmers’ families.

Herbert dreams of a time when African farmers can reap the fruits of their hard labor so their families can have improved educational opportunities for their children, enhanced access to medicine, and a better life for all. “We joined our partners, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Galvmed, to create the Last Mile project. It has developed into a long-term, sustainable model that closes gaps in access, availability and awareness of animal healthcare solutions for small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Sixty-six people work in eight countries, and we are determined to grow more. The team in western Kenya works closely with our local distributor and the government. We have helped more than 300 farms raise milk production so farmers can now keep some of the milk for themselves and sell the rest to generate income. Thanks to this success, we will roll out a similar concept in all countries where the Last Mile is active along with MMH.” It is a delight to invite more Boehringer Ingelheim colleagues to (re-)act in the same agile way as Herbert and join to make more health happen by drawing from their own experience and capabilities.