Health Systems Strengthening
Ready to scale
Despite tremendous efforts, approximately 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are vulnerable and have little access to healthcare. Notably, mortality is high and 50% of deaths are cases of infectious diseases that are in fact curable but costs and time for transportation, access to health products, medicines and services are exorbitantly high. There is also a lack of knowledge within communities and at drug stores about counterfeit drugs and basic healthcare in general. Many healthcare centres in Africa at large are under-stocked in basic medicines and medical equipment and lack trained personnel. In addition, most allocated healthcare budgets do not often affectively reach the most rural areas where health cases are often most severe.
Joost van Engen has experience that includes the distribution of essential generic medicines and health commodities in the development sector. He is the founder of Healthy Entrepreneurs, an initiative that aims to provide access to basic health using solid scalable business models, especially for vulnerable people in hard to reach areas. Healthy Entrepreneurs is an innovative local solution that selects and trains community health workers as health entrepreneurs. These community health workers pay a commitment fee and receive a starter kit of basic health products, as well as a solar-powered tablet that is equipped with an ordering app. The health entrepreneurs will also receive a product and health info app which includes educational videos on relevant health topics in their local languages. These entrepreneurs are able to make a living by selling reliable and affordable health products such as fortified porridges. Health entrepreneurs can also offer simple diagnostic tests and advice from a doctor from a remote location to their communities in need. The Healthy Entrepreneurs concept has been tested, implemented and fine-tuned in Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo. Work currently focuses on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.