January 8, 2015
Trailblazing Research to Revolutionise Primary care in Developing Countries
Researchers today published a groundbreaking report on ways to scale up primary care in low and middle‐income countries.
Primary care initiatives are ineffectively scattered and unless they can be scaled up, local communities have to ‘reinvent the wheel’, says the report, authored by the Toronto Health Organization Performance Evaluation (T‐HOPE) team at the University of Toronto with the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF).
The research explores a range of innovative programs and uncovers successful strategies to scale up affordable, quality primary care models in the developing world. It is the first in-depth study of its kind.
Strong primary care programs create lasting health benefits for communities, including reducing maternal mortality rates, reducing the spread of infectious disease and improving the life expectancy and quality of life of people with chronic diseases. Yet such programs face challenges due to low profit margins, competition from the informal health sector and low prestige in comparison with specialty medicine.
But the experts say that for the first time they have good evidence on how to expand primary care. Solutions include branding and marketing, franchising, providing alternative payment options for patients, and strategic partnering. The report recommends ways to promote the scale up of primary care – essential for improving the health of millions in developing countries.
“Rapid Routes to Scale: Scaling Up Primary Care to Improve Health in Low and Middle Income Countries” was funded by the Rapid Routes to Scale Group, a unique mix of private and social sector organisations focused on understanding what it takes to improve primary care in the delveoping world: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co, Merck Serono, Novo Nordisk and Save the Children. The Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) and International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD) acted as expert advisors.
The Group are now working together to harness the research by implementing an action learning program which will accelerate five high potential primary care organisations to scale, together with a cascade mentoring program that will build skills throughout the organisations it supports.
The International Centre for Social Franchising provides expertise to commercial and social sector pioneers and advice for investors seeking to replicate their social impact. www.the‐icsf.org
T-HOPE is an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Toronto combining health and management expertise in global health innovation and performance. www.thope.org