Thousands of Zimbabweans will soon have access to affordable essential medical drugs thanks to a new partnership between the Red Cross and mPharma.

The partnership will create a network of pharmacies linked to Red Cross health clinics and other community-based health facilities, providing the lowest price for medical drugs in Zimbabwe. The first two locations are planned to open in the capital, Harare, as well as Marondera, Mutale and Gwira by May 2018.

The health care needs in Zimbabwe today are immense. With more than 1.4 million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, the demand for anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) and other health care supports are high (UNAIDS 2016). Acute respiratory infections, malaria and dehydration caused by severe diarrhoea are causes of child morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization also estimates that 32% of deaths in Zimbabwe are caused by non-communicable diseases.

“The cost of health treatment often put a huge financial burden on families in Zimbabwe. Tragically, this prevents them from accessing the quality care they need,” says Maxwell Phiri, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Red Cross. “However, our partnership with mPharma will help change this reality.”

Affordable medication is one aspect of this budding partnership. Plans are well underway to improve drug inventory planning and digitize patient health records for easier access to care and pharmaceuticals in the future.

“No one should be denied access to quality healthcare because of their socioeconomic status,” says Gregory Rockson, Co-Founder and CEO of mPharma.

“We want to play a small role to make this dream a reality. Our partnership with the Red Cross will get us there.”