- Iain Barton, Healthcare Strategy Executive, Imperial Logistics
- Denis Cruz, Founder and CEO, Clinica SIM
- Matthew Guilford, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Telenor Health
- Shelley Saxena, Founder and CEO, Sevamob
- Zeynep Kantur, Principal Investment Officer, IFC
Four innovators transforming the way healthcare is delivered to lower-income segments of the population shared lessons learned in developing their business models.
Imperial Logistics’ Iain Barton, who developed the community-based Unjani Clinics in South Africa that are owned and staffed by nursing professionals from the community, said: “It started as a dream, a concept, a desire to ensure people could walk to their primary care, mothers would be able to get care for their kids and still get to their place of employment.” The network has grown to 55 clinics serving 30,000 patients a month, which proves there is a large community “willing and able to fund their own primary care if you give them an accessible, affordable, quality service,” said Barton.
“It started as a dream, a concept, a desire to ensure people could walk to their primary care, mothers would be able to get care for their kids and still get to their place of employment.”—Iain Barton
Shelley Saxena, CEO of Sevamob, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled healthcare platform offering primary care services in India, South Africa and United States, said the company comprised three elements: AI-based triage and point-of-care diagnostics, telehealth, and onsite pop-up clinics. By creating a comprehensive primary care system covering both checkups and treatment, they lowered costs by 50 percent, he said. Sevamob operates a business-to-business model, its customers including employers, schools, NGOs, hospitals, and local governments.
Matthew Guilford, Co-Founder of Telenor Health, which has used mobile phone technology to triple the number of Bangladeshis with health insurance in less than two years, noted that 5 billion people in the world now have cellphones and 3 billion smartphones. “The question is not will this change health, or will this enable Universal Health Coverage, but will it go to the people who need it most first,” he said. Telenor has three strands: using mobile technology to give people better choices on everything from the delivery of messages to discounts for healthy food; using it to deliver primary care remotely to people in their homes; and using it to make it easier for people to get health insurance. When trying to scale up to serve low-income populations, it can be useful to develop simple products and leverage mass marketing networks, he suggested.
“The question is not will mobile and smartphone technologies change health, or will this enable Universal Health Coverage, but will it go to the people who need it most first.”—Matthew Guilford
Denis Cruz, CEO of Clinica SIM, a chain of 43 clinics in northern and northeastern Brazil, said he was motivated by a desire to treat uninsured patients in a faster and more cost-effective way, having seen firsthand major inefficiencies and inequities in the public hospital system. The company adopted a lean, retail-oriented model with prices and physicians displayed online. When “serving the underserved it’s all about finding the right user interface,” a model that works both for patient and physician, and a profitable economic unit before you scale up, he said.