By Joyce Ojanji

Daniel Kimemia, African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref)’s long-serving mobile clinic driver has been awarded the prestigious Frontline Exemplar Award for his outstanding efforts in reaching remote communities across East Africa with essential health services, including vaccines during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was recognized at the Last Mile Health Ceremony held on the sidelines of the ongoing climate change conference of parties (COP 28) in Dubai.

Organized by Reaching the Last Mile Initiative in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates, Frontline Exemplar Award was designed to appreciate exceptional individuals who played a key role in delivering essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating remarkable courage and dedication to keep others safe and ensured continuity of essential services in their local communities.

Through the solar-powered mobile clinic, launched by Amref Health Africa in partnership with AstraZeneca and Ministry of Health Kenya in June 2022, Kimemia navigated challenging terrains, hard-to-reach areas and across borders traversing three countries—Kenya, Rwanda, and Zanzibar—covering an extensive total distance of over 32,000 kilometers delivering essential vaccines to the underserved communities.

His role extended beyond merely driving the clinic. Kimemia actively engaged in community outreach and awareness efforts to mobilize community members to drive demand for vaccination services.

Recognizing the critical importance of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccinations, he went above and beyond his call of duty to raise awareness in a creative and impactful manner by incorporating humor and comics to effectively communicate the significance of vaccines using megaphones or public address systems.

“I am deeply humbled by the recognition, and this award is not just a reflection of my efforts but a collective effort of our team at Amref, including an exceptional team of dedicated health workers, Community Health Workers, and partners, who have worked tirelessly on the frontlines to ensure underserved communities are reached with the lifesaving products and services,” said Kimemia.

“The last mile is often the hardest, but it is where our impact matters the most. I believe that everyone, regardless of their location, deserves access to essential health services. Let this award inspire all of us to continue pushing the boundaries and reaching those who need our support the most.”

This journey was not just about the physical distance covered; it represented his commitment to ensuring that COVID-19 and other essential health vaccines reached every corner, especially those areas where access to healthcare is limited.

To date, the mobile clinic has successfully reached over 114,000 individuals with a variety of health services including vaccinations, cervical cancer and screenings for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among other health services.