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    Helping people in Eastern Congo get easier access to quick relief

    Day 6

    Over the Counter

    “In Congo, usually people avoid using health services. They prefer shortcuts, going to local pharmacies to buy medications,” says Dr. Johnny, the Asili Medical Coordinator. “But, the big problem is, those medications are not of good quality. And sometimes they’ll get access to meds they shouldn’t, without a prescription. It can be dangerous.”

    So many times in Congo people are forced to choose between an expensive visit to the doctor or trying to tough it out. That’s why the demand for over the counter medications has been so high—they want to trust the medications they’re buying, but people just don’t have a good option right now.

    Asili is a trusted brand. And so the demand for over the counter medications from Asili has been building. Up to this point, the team hasn’t prototyped the service yet. But with the help of 365, they decided to take action.

    For today’s idea, we’re helping them get this service started with the most important step—more medications!

    “We have a specific list of drugs we’re allowed to sell over the counter,” said Dr. Johnny. “People want our drugs because they know they’ll work. Even just for a headache or stomach ache.”

    Providing an over the counter medication service gives them the option to seek relief for non-serious illnesses, and gives our medical team a chance to catch illnesses early that might develop into something more serious.

    “We have patients who come to us saying they have a headache, for example,” he continued. “They’ve been suffering for two days. But they only have enough to buy tablets. With an over the counter drug service, instead of losing those patients, the nurse can say, ok, let me give you this over the counter drug for relief. And then they can come back for a follow up if symptoms get worse.”

    The crew is over the moon about getting this service off the ground, and they can’t wait to see how the community reacts.

    “People in the community associate our brand with high quality. If they are going to another pharmacy, they might buy the wrong drugs, expired drugs, or even buy more drugs than they need. With us, they know that they’re going to get the right thing, something that will actually work. They’re going to be excited.”

    Photos by Lens on Life photographers, Operation Goma (DRC): Kennedy Ngoa and Michel Basizi 

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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