Smallest-scale logistics – Logistics for global health and aid - A Humourless Lot

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Smallest-scale logistics

by Michael Keizer on February 26, 2009

Talking about health logistics, we tend to concentrate on heath systems logistics, i.e. the logistics of the health system. What we ignore is the logistics of daily life and its impact on health.

To give one example: obesity is linked to the way our communities are designed and how long we spend in our cars each day. More dramatic examples include how distance from a source of clean drinking water impact on water use, or how transport and in-house storage of that same drinking water can make all the difference between clean or contaminated water.

An even more direct link between smallest-scale logistics and health are the risks that many women and girls in developing countries (especially in refugee settings) run when collecting firewood. Here it is not even the logistics that impact on the product (firewood) and hence on health, but the logistic activity (collection) itself that endangers people’s life and health (although there is also an indirect link: the use of firewood as fuel causes air pollution).

UNHCR and the Women’s Refugee Commission recently started the Get Beyond Firewood initiative, which is trying to find safe alternatives for firewood. This is a good example of how improvement of the smallest-scale logistics can improve life and health of people in developing countries.

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