The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select few social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations have demonstrated impact on some of the world's most pressing problems. The Skoll Award recognizes organizations with the potential to not only be individually successful, but also to catalyze large-scale, system-level change.
WORLD HEALTH PARTNERS
Skoll Entrepreneur: Gopi Gopalakrishnan
Award Year: 2013
Focus Area Addressed: Healthcare Access and Treatment
Increase of health delivery costs and decrease of availability of quality health care. The existing health markets simply cannot serve the poor.
Most developing countries suffer from severe shortage of physicians -- in India, the physician-to-patient ratio is six to 10,000.
In India, the issue is compounded in rural areas, where 70 percent of the population lives, but only 3 percent of the country's specialist physicians practice.
In Bihar, the poorest Indian state with the population of 104 million people, the public healthcare system is stretched beyond capacity, reaching only about half of the villages with often low quality of care and inadequate medical supplies.
A large proportion of the population receives its care through informal rural health providers who enjoy high credibility and trust in the communities but often lack skills, training, and access to medical supplies that will enable them play a more useful role.
World Health Partners (WHP) identifies practicing informal private sector health providers at the village level, and networks them into a supply chain of medical products with support through marketing, training, and use of technology.
Using WHP's telemedicine tools, the networked rural providers connect to a Central Medical Facility, allowing patients in rural areas to interact with highly qualified specialists in real time, with the rural provider serving as the key and trusted liaison between the patient and the doctor.
The system allows for a comprehensive and integrated health service delivery to the rural poor built on existing human and physical resources.
WHP relies on value-added services, technology, and business relationships to create incentives that build long term business interests of the providers, directly contributing to the sustainability of the network.
When necessary, WHP provides heavy subsidies to patients who cannot pay -- the practice that doesn't undermine the business integrity of the provider since it builds on a viable business model that has already been created for the non-poor, thereby ensuring access to quality care by the poorest of the poor. Where possible, WHP also draws from public sector support to serve the needs of the poor.
IMPACT AS OF 2013:
Prior to WHP's presence in Bihar, WHP estimated that only five percent of the state's population had access to quality healthcare. Currently, WHP is on track to achieving 70 percent coverage in Bihar in the coming years.
WHP rural health providers are present in about 4,000 villages, which are served by 250 telemedicine centers. By 2015 WHP expects to be have presence in more than 20,000 villages.
The WHP network in Bihar is growing rapidly, adding as many 400 villages per month.
WHP has connected more than 62,000 rural patients to urban doctors just in the component using telemedicine, and estimates that about 760,000 patients have gone through the WHP system in overall terms.