Gib Bulloch, founder and global managing director of Accenture Development Partnerships, talks best buys in global health with Cate O’kane, PSI’s deputy director of Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy. Community health workers and mhealth are at the top of his list.
The latest edition of Impact magazine seeks to uncover global health’s best investments, identify global health trends, and discuss barriers and solutions to scaling up promising interventions. Read the interview below from the issue, find the rest of the articles from the magazine here, and continue the conversation on Twitter using#BestBuys4GH.
Impact: GiveWell is known for using the very clear and direct framework of ‘proven/cost-effective/scalable’ when evaluating charities for public health. With your initiative, GiveWell Labs, you’re moving into new territory with the evaluation of areas outside public health and less straightforward frameworks. What was the impetus for this change and what challenges are you experiencing?
GiveWell: When GiveWell started, its co-founders had no experience in the non-profit sector, so they decided to focus on programs whose impact is easiest to measure: interventions with strong formal evidence of effectiveness from high-quality studies, such as randomized controlled trials. Now that we’ve been using this approach for a long time, we’re eager to learn about opportunities that might have great impact even if they are harder to measure, which is what GiveWell Labs is designed to do.
Through providing increased access to safe water treatment products and promoting hand-washing with soap at critical times, the partnership between Procter & Gamble, USAID, and PSI seeks to prevent diarrhea among approximately 70,000 children under five in Myanmar, thereby reducing the number of preventable deaths. Diarrhea is the second major cause of death among children under five, following pneumonia, which can also be reduced significantly by improving hand-washing practices.
A team of researchers mapped over 9,800 tweets with sexual and drug-related themes and found that their locations were a good predictor for established statistics on HIV-prevalence. “Because of the growing amount of social media data, researchers and public health departments will soon be able to build upon these methods to more accurately monitor and detect health behaviors and disease outbreaks.”
Administrator Raj Shah this week helped deliver the first liter of clean drinking water under a Global Development Alliance (GDA) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) to improve health in Myanmar.
Over the next two years, USAID and P&G will make joint investments of at least $2 million on health projects aimed at providing clean drinking water through provision of P&G Purifier of Water packets, promoting better hygiene behaviors;,and building capability to deliver improved health services to mothers and children. These projects will be implemented on the ground by PSI.
On February 5, 2014, the first sale of Super Bebe happened in Mozambique, after awaiting approval from the Ministry of Health. As advertised in the commercial above, Super Bebe is a simple, once-a-day nutritional supplement in the form of a powder that can be sprinkled onto any baby food mothers are already using.
Exciting change is happening for healthcare in developing countries.
Start-ups, corporations, NGOs, and governments are finding new and innovative ways to increase access to health services and products. Some of the developments may seem mundane, but they are changing the game in remarkable ways.
Highlights: 2013, a new report from the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI), identifies emerging healthcare practices, analyzes the effectiveness of these practices, and spotlights programs improving their ability to serve poor communities. The report features 81 programs working to make quality healthcare delivered by private organizations affordable and accessible to the world’s poor.
Programs by PSI in India, Angola, Somaliland and South Sudan are held up as some of the examples in the report. In India, PSI is using ICTs to support women’s health.
Just over a third of the programs CHMI profiles in India indicate using technology as a core part of their models. Of the 200 programs targeting India’s rural population, many use technology in interesting new ways, including to facilitate remote diagnosis of rural patients, make health records at peripheral clinics available to central health providers, and allow providers and patients to access health education and awareness information. Saadhan, a PSI-affiliated program, runs a helpline that provides counseling and information services to improve women’s health. Saadhan also tracks clients with software so its counselors can follow-up with repeated callers.
Distribution is another important area. Coming up with an innovative solution to a problem like malaria is a big advance, but it has to get out to people in hard-to-reach parts of the world. That is where PSI steps in to work with the supply chain.
Organizations are using alternative means of transportation to get medicines to remote destinations. As of May 2013, World Health Partners in India was employing 50 locals on motorcycles, called “Last Mile Outriders,” to take drugs to rural clinics. In Peru, APECA uses canoes and boats to distribute cofres medicinales—or medical chests with essential medicines—to communities along the Amazon River. Another distribution solution that seems to be growing in popularity is using existing supply chains to bring health products to consumers. ColaLife utilizes Coca-Cola’s established supply chains to bring essential medicines to communities. Similarly, Clinics4All uses commercial supply chains to increase access to medicines across Africa and Asia, as does PSI Angola, PSI Somaliland, and PSI South Sudan.
CHMI will soon release data that measures the impact of organizations on health and economics in developing countries. Program Director Donika Dimovska recently described the plan in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
We will continue to track the growth of developing country health markets. But the question still remains: Which organizations are achieving health and financial results important to national and global health policy makers, donors, investors, and other health care managers? A standardized set of performance metrics could help fairly compare organizations and set reliable benchmarks. The good news is we’re working on that, in collaboration with others such as the Impact Investment & Reporting Standards (IRIS) team at the Global Impact Investing Network.
With a better understanding of which health organizations in these extremely dynamic health markets are having an impact, we can better track and support the scale up of care that is measurably improving the lives of the poor.