Skoll Foundation

 

World Health Partners

Skoll Awardee(s): Gopi Gopalakrishnan
Award Year: 2013
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Health

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“If a young mother in a village wants to have two children, she must have the ability to have only those two children. She must not suffer the accident of having ten. That is her fundamental right, and we must do everything in our power to protect it and cherish it.”

Sub-Issues: Health Delivery; Health Technology

More than a billion people worldwide lack access to basic health care, simply because they live in rural areas beyond the reach of existing systems.

The Skoll Awardee: Gopi Gopalakrishnan founded World Health Partners in 2008 to expand and build on the work of Jannai, a nonprofit he also founded, which delivers more than 20 percent of the family planning services available in the Indian state of Bihar. Gopi is an expert in bringing private-sector resources into the equation to complement public service delivery. WHP invites health-care entrepreneurs and informal health care providers in remote rural areas to join a branded health franchise. They receive training, assistance with marketing and ordering and maintaining stocks of medicines and supplies, and real-time telemedicine support from specialists and experts. Patients pay for the services. WHP provides subsidies to the very poor so that they can have access to services without changing the fundamentally commercial nature of the franchise. The network includes SkyHealth telemedicine clinics staffed by formally trained primary care practitioners, and SkyCare centers staffed by local entrepreneurs with lower levels of formal medical training. The model allows for comprehensive health-care delivery to the rural poor through clinics and centers sustained by fees and receiving enough value from the franchise’s training, technical, and logistical services to justify the cost of participation. For public agencies, contributing to subsidies that allow the poorest of the poor to access and pay for private-sector care can be a more efficient approach than attempting to build and maintain public healthcare facilities. At the time of the Award, the franchise included more than 4,500 SkyCare providers and 600 SkyHealth centers in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2013:

  • In 2014, the network included 11,795 SkyCare rural providers and 1,154 SkyHealth telemedicine centers, providing services to 43,942 villages.
  • Surveys and patient responses indicate that these clinics provide improved quality of care, emphasizing preventative care and proper diagnosis and prescription. SkyHealth and SkyCare providers were less likely than others to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics for diarrhea and tuberculosis.
  • There was evidence of significantly lower incidence of both pneumonia and diarrhea in areas served by these centers. Sky patients paid 25-46 percent less for their treatment of these diseases than those served by other centers.

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