Skoll Foundation



Skoll Awardee(s): Blaise Judja-Sato
Award Year: 2006
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Health

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“By addressing the supply and demand of health care services, more people will have access to better services, and healthier people can contribute productively to their communities.”

Sub-Issue: Health delivery

One of the greatest challenges in providing healthcare in developing countries is overcoming the logistical and structural gaps that prevent medicines, vaccines, and healthcare services from reaching remote villages.

The Skoll Awardee: Born in Cameroon, Blaise Judja-Sato was a successful U.S. businessman until a devastating flood in Mozambique prompted his return to Africa. While helping with relief efforts, he saw both the suffering of the rural poor and the frustration of nongovernmental organizations that could not get medicines across the “last mile” of remote country to those in need. He also realized that these last-mile barriers affected industries and others who might be willing to pay into a shared system that benefited everyone. He founded VillageReach in 2000 to build this infrastructure. VillageReach’s model addresses five last-mile logistical barriers: (1) human resource development, including training local health workers; (2) physical infrastructure; (3) support systems to manage clinic operations, maintenance, and inventory control; (4) community development, including preparing local organizations and Ministries of Health to take over ownership of projects; and (5) income generation through the development of social enterprises, to fill infrastructure gaps and subsidize programs.  At the time of the Award, VillageReach was working with 90 clinics, serving 1.5 million people. Blaise has since left the organization, which is now led by Allen Wilcox.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:

  • VillageReach increased immunization coverage rates for children under 5 in northern Mozambique from 68 percent to over 95 percent with an innovative last-mile logistics system that not only increased effectiveness but also reduced costs for Mozambique’s Ministry of Health, which is now implementing the system throughout the country.
  • VillageReach developed an open-source, Web-based management information system to support last-mile logistics systems.
  • VillageReach built its social business, VidaGas, into a profitable business as the largest propane distributor in northern Mozambique. It continues to support the health system as well as moving the broader market away from wood and charcoal as energy sources.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.