Franchising for health

An Indian physician examines boy on Gunungsitoli

In rural communities in India, the ratio of doctors to patients is 1:2000. That leaves a large gap in health services to be filled. A large but informal jumble of health care practitioners  tries to fill the gap. Often, these practitioners are under-capitalized, under-trained, and disconnected from each other and from professional consultation with a doctor.

One organization, World Health Partners, is applying franchising as a pricing and distribution model to help unite these health practitioners and raise their level of equipment and training.

World Health Partners has created the Sky franchise of health clinics. Franchisees must pay up to $2,000 to obtain a franchise. That’s a lot of money in rural India. They must also meet Sky’s quality standards and agree to provide preventive services such as family planning and post-natal care.

In exchange, franchisees gain access through telemedicine to qualified doctors located in Delhi. They can purchase SkyMeds generic medications to ensure affordable drugs for rural patients. They also get training and marketing and branding support.

In this case, franchising is an innovative combination of pricing, distribution, and branding designed to solve a very critical public services challenge. I especially like that the non-profit World Health Partners applied a normally for-profit approach to solving this problem.

Instead of yet more fast food franchises in the U.S., how could we use this approach to solving some of our public services needs?

(Thanks to NextBillion for bringing this story to my attention.)

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