Increasing Access To Affordable Healthcare And Creating Jobs In Africa

Increasing Access To Affordable Healthcare And Creating Jobs In Africa

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: Access to employment

CONTENT: Article

Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are working with CARE International to develop a social enterprise model in Africa to give more people access to affordable healthcare and support entrepreneurship.

The Barclays GSK Partnership has committed up to £7m to the end of 2016 to improve access to affordable healthcare and stimulate economic development in Zambia. Working with government and other stakeholders, we are exploring how to:

  • Make affordable health products and medicine available to more people, by developing an efficient supply chain
  • Improve affordability for people with a low income, by developing and testing a micro health insurance product 
  • Improve access to healthcare in underserved communities, and raise healthcare awareness to help people make informed decisions, by establishing and supporting small enterprise health outlets and community health entrepreneurs.

To develop a network of community health entrepreneurs in Zambia, Barclays GSK partnership has now joined forces with NGO CARE International. The entrepreneurs will earn a living, while serving their local communities, by selling affordable health related products and promoting health awareness. The initial focus is to test the feasibility of the new model before it is piloted. 

About two-thirds of Zambians live in poverty, and medicine is too expensive for many people. On top of this, supply problems mean that people who can afford to go to a clinic often find that there are no medicines available when they get there. Then there’s the distance issue: only half of rural households are within five kilometres of any kind of health facility. These challenges can make it difficult to access treatment for common illnesses. Diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea remain among the leading causes of death in children. 

Dennis O’Brien, Country Director, CARE International in Zambia

The partnership seeks to tackle these challenges, and reduce the burden on the public health system through stimulating private enterprise. Alongside health promotion activities, the community health entrepreneurs will provide people with products needed not just to address illness – such as diarrhoea treatment kits – but offer preventative measures such as chlorine to disinfect dirty water. This would mean less time waiting in clinics and more time to focus on earning a living.

Dennis O’Brien continues: “CARE’s mission is the sustainable alleviation of poverty and our health work aims to improve the health of millions of the world’s poorest people. Our methods of doing this are changing. We recognise that working with large private sector companies has huge potential to make a difference to the lives of those we serve. So this isn’t a traditional donor-NGO project. This is a new way of doing business. One day we hope that this model will be a sustainable social enterprise in its own right. We’re excited about being involved in something we hope we can scale elsewhere.”

Acknowledging the importance of working in partnership, David Wheldon, Barclays Head of Brand, Reputation, Citizenship and Marketing says: “At Barclays, we recognise that the success of our business is linked to the growth of the societies in which we operate. By partnering with one of our key clients and global healthcare company, GSK, we can drive an innovative approach to a significant social challenge in Zambia. This is a great example of how we are exploring new ways to drive shared value for all.”

The Barclays GSK Partnership is supported by the Barclays Social Innovation Facility which supports the development of market-based solutions to social challenges.

CARE International is also one of Barclays’ NGO partners in the Banking on Change programme.

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