In the first quarter of 2014, World Health Partners celebrated a landmark. The WHP team has provided over 100,000 teleconsultations for medical care and follow-up, reaching some of the most underserved, rural communities.
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WHP’s model uses the private sector that is already providing a large portion of health services, and leverages public sector resources. The approach addresses the two main impediments to delivering health services sustainably and at scale: motivation and efficiency.
Aligning Market Forces
WHP creates a holistic framework that aligns market forces in innovative ways to motivate the private sector to serve a population segment in which they are not inherently interested. The model is complex in detail but simple in essence: WHP brings together unorganized private providers, both formally and informally qualified, into a branded and tiered Social Franchise network.
The network provides integrated health services and is linked to higher-skilled urban providers through telemedicine and referrals. The price of entry into the network is a formal agreement to abide by improved health services and referral protocols, particularly for preventive services, as well as regulated pricing for the poorest. The approach creates economic viability that motivates providers and delivers comprehensive care to underserved communities close to their homes.
Creating Economies of Scale
WHP is able to deliver services down to the last mile efficiently by leveraging existing human and physical resources to provide health products and services. These resources are supported by appropriate use of communications technologies, business and social relationships, marketing and access to a complete health care delivery system inclusive of supply chain, referral system, and access to diagnostics and specialists via telemedicine. By using economies of scale, WHP’s social marketing and franchising model becomes more cost efficient and self-sustaining at scale.
WHP is implementing its model in a number of projects, currently across India and Kenya with a focus on offering primary care services in underserved communities. In India, through a network of 5,000 village entrepreneurs, so far WHP’s work has resulted in:
the treatment and diagnosis of more than 717 ,000 cases of childhood pneumonia and
more than 755,000 cases of childhood diarrhea, as well as
more than 797,000 couples year protections for family planning, with a main focus on long-lasting modern contraceptive methods.
WHP’s vision for the future is that people living in any part of the developing world, belonging to any social or income category, will have the ability to improve their health standards through easy access to basic health care close to their homes at prices aligned with their income level.