Kit Yamoyo, the Kit of Life, is a Zambian designed innovation, which co-packages Oral Salts (ORS) and zinc to treat one of Africa’s biggest hildhood killers; diarrhoea. Originally donor funded, Kit Yamoyo has now been handed over to Pharmanova Zambia as sole owners of the trademark, having successfully manufactured, sold and distributed the product
for over a decade.
Starting as a vision by co-founders of ColaLife, Jane & Simon Berry, the Kit Yamoyo project was a trial in 2012, overseen by the Ministry of Health. The trial demonstrated the health benefits for Zambian children, even in remote rural areas, and trained hundreds of Community Health Workers and rural retailers. After the trial there was very limited funding
for scaling up the successful model across the country and donor funding ceased altogether in 2018. Yet for the last five years under the commercial leadership of Pharmanova and with recognition from the Ministry of Health, Kit Yamoyo has gone from strength to strength. The DHS Survey of 2019 showed that the coverage of children with diarrhoea receiving this life saving treatment leapt from under 1% to 34% – placing Zambia in Africa’s top three.
Locally manufactured, supplied in bulk to the Ministry of Health (GRZ ORS/Zinc Co-pack) and available nationwide in Shoprite and other leading supermarkets and pharmacies, Kit Yamoyo has become a success story throughout the public and private sector. Even on the international stage it’s been featured in 2 prestigious academic papers in the British Medical Journal and several books and publications, as well as winning numerous awards over the years.
Whilst it was important to celebrate the handing over of the trademark it became clear that the event was about much more than simply a brand. During her “10 Stories that made Kit Yamoyo” co-founder Jane Berry reiterated her firm belief that Kit Yamoyo is not just about the kit itself but a lesson in sharing visions to achieve something beyond she ever thought possible,“like many new initiatives, the Kit Yamoyo development project was originally donor-supported but what stands out in the Kit Yamoyo Story is the legacy. The objective of the event was to draw attention to this and spread the learning on why and how this has happened across the public, private and NGO sectors and donor community so that lessons can be adapted and adopted time and time again.”
The event also held an interactive panel discussion, moderated by Dr Bonface Fundafunda, Chief of Staff Africa Resource Center, Mr Murugappan, GM Pharmanova, Mr John Msimuko (formerly Keepers Zambia Foundation CEO), Mr Kapumpe Musakanya, President Livewell, Mr Charles Bota, GM Shoprite Zambia, Mr Simon Berry, OBE, CEO and co-founder of Colalife and Mr Billy Mweeta, Director General ZAMMSA.
The Guest of Honour, Professor Roma Chilengi, DG ZNPHI, spoke passionately about the scourge of diarrhoea and said that the success of today was a result of collective Zambian efforts and he felt “proud of Pharmanova, as a Zambian Company.” The British High Commissioner, Nicholas Wooley, expressed how proud he felt that British Aid had supported the Kit Yamoyo initiative since the beginning – “they had taken a punt on an innovation and it has clearly paid off.”
Speaking on behalf of the Zambian Association of Manufacturers, the Vice President Chipego Zulu emphasized the importance of Kit Yamoyo as a quality product from the outset and mentioned that manufacturers in Zambia can learn a lot from Pharmanova’s uncompromising attitude to quality and partnerships.
In a lively question and answer session the contribution of EU representative Rino Meyers, stood out as he spoke of a future where Zambian health manufacturers could serve the whole region and he urged Zambia to set ambitions high.
This was a theme during the event. Pharmanova C.E.O, Mohammed Umar, part of the project from the beginning, mentioned in his welcoming remarks that health care security and independence is “non-negotiable” for the future stability of Zambia. Recently returned from the vaccine conference, held in Addis Ababa, co-organised by the African Union and United Nations, Mr Umar said that a project like Kit Yamoyo speaks to “Pharmanova’s passion, mission and values.” He added, “if the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it has taught us that the future of OUR Health is within us.”
Pharmanova has shown their dedication towards the future of the health care sector when an M.O.U was recently signed with a European company to set up a state-of-the-art, World Health Organisation (WHO), US-FDA and European Union (EU) Medicines Agency approved manufacturing plant that would produce bespoke medication not only for Zambia but also for the region – including vaccines, antiretrovirals amongst others. Pharmanova, in existence since 1980, have shown a commitment to save lives – through manufacturing, innovation and partnerships, ColaLife being a prime example.
Kit Yamoyo has now joined the Pharmanova basket of life saving products, includin Panado, Cafemol and Klori-Pure (in partnership with USAID) amongst others