Millennium Villages Project
As three out of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are health-related, the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development agreed in 2007 to support the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in health-related research interventions. The MVP was founded with the goal of helping impoverished communities in rural Africa achieve the MDGs formulated and agreed to by all member countries of the United Nations. The MVP is active at 12 sites in ten African countries. In 2007, the Novartis Foundation started financing one of the six Millennium Villages in Tanzania, the Ilolangulu Village. For a five-year-period, the Novartis Foundation invests in the village's transition from mainly subsistence farming to more self-sustaining commercial activity. Challenges facing Ilolangulu Village included inadequate water supply, extreme hunger, failed crops and a high prevalence of malaria. The Novartis Foundation also donated the artemisinin-based combination therapy of Novartis (Coartem) for the treatment of malaria in MVP sites all over sub-Saharan Africa where Coartem is registered on the national essential drugs list. After two years, positive results have been seen. Crop diversification and the use of fertilizers and hybrid seeds have increased the yields for maize from 1.5 tons/hectare in 2007 to close to 5 tons/hectare in 2009. A new clinic constructed by MVP in the Mbola cluster improved the overall health of the population with better health services and the distribution of more than 20,000 treated bed nets. Education and nutrition have improved for more than 7,000 children in the cluster with training of teachers, supply of new textbooks as well as meals in school. Finally, new infrastructures were developed - such as water and sanitation systems, as well as mobile phone towers.