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Promotora-Assisted Telemedicine - a ‘Vida Nueva’ for the Americas

Vida Nueva Americas provides health services to urban communities via ‘promotoras’ who connect to female doctors via telemedicine

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Where are you located (country)?

Pakistan

Where are you located (city or town)?

Karachi

You are submitting as:

  • An organization

If part of an organization or group, what is the name?

DoctHERs

What is your organization or group’s website? (If applicable)

https://www.docthers.com

How does your proposed solution support emerging middle-class families in urban areas in the Global South to adapt and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the context of COVID-19, these promotoras are fully equipped with hospital grade PPE and can also help reinforce the use of PPE by patients while implementing appropriate safety measures. In urban, industrial environments such as textile factories, upskilled nurse ‘promotoras’ can be deployed within SMART clinics which provide factory workers with access to high-quality healthcare in real-time. This includes access to psychologists for the mental wellbeing of workers affected by COVID-19. Leveraging SMART technology allows these factory workers to continue working without sacrificing their daily wages while still prioritizing their health and well-being. At the same time, the reintegration of women into the workforce (both remotely located female doctors who may be raising families but can work in flexi-time) as well as the frontline health promotoras can help to stimulate economies which have been affected by COVID-19. With the use of technology this program will provide inclusive employment to both promotoras and remotely located female doctors.

What stage of development is your Idea in?

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

What tier are you applying to?

  • LatAm Mid- to Advanced-Stage Prize Tier: Open to submissions focused on the Latam region, and particularly in Peru, that are prototyping, piloting, or scaling their idea. If not based in Peru, must be willing to partner with a local player in Peru to implement their project.

Do you intend to implement your idea in Peru?

  • Yes

In what countries do you expect to implement your idea initially (in the first 2 years)?

Peru (and potentially Mexico & Colombia depending on how quickly we can scale)

Feasibility: where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve accomplished to date, what barriers to implementation might exist, and what next steps you plan to take.

To date, the promotora model has been successfully scaled in Pakistan by doctHERs in collaboration with Unilever. We have deployed 150 frontline female health workers in rural villages and in 2019 we sensitized over 1 Million women, and connected over 78,000 women and children in need of quality healthcare to a nationwide network of female doctors via HD video-consultation. Over 150 female doctors have been reintegrated into the Pakistani health workforce thereby promoting gender-equality (SDG 5) as well as the creation of decent work and economic growth opportunities (SDG 8). The SMART clinic telemedicine model was awarded 1st place at the Tommy Hilfiger Social Innovation Challenge in 2019. doctHERs has deployed this nurse-assisted telemedicine model with textile suppliers to Tommy Hilifiger in Karachi and is now exploring the replication of this model in the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh. Similar to South Asia, thriving in Latin America requires careful navigation of the socio-political landscape. It is conceivable that the Vida Nueva Americas initiative may face political resistance from entrenched interests within the public health sector as well as from some labour unions and manufacturer associations who may see this model as a mechanism for textile retailers to monitor the quality of their supply chains. We plan to mitigate this risk by implementing our model with trusted local partners who are familiar with the Peruvian culture and business environment

Viability: what needs to be true for you to be able to implement your idea? What stakeholders, partnerships and resources might be required to implement this solution?

It is fundamental to bring together resources to have the most impact, and partnerships will be key for the development and viability of the Promotora initiative. There are several diverse global partnerships that we have established over the past 5 years that we will need to transfer to Latin America - these include our existing strategic collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, Levis, Phllips, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), Accenture, Roche, UNDP It makes strategic sense for us to collaborate with companies that have established relationships with stakeholders in the Latin American ecosystem. One of our key objectives is to provide continuity of high-quality healthcare to our target population via a biometric-enabled, portable, cloud-based health e-passport (EMR) system which is fully integrated with digital payments and our digital health platform for which we will place additional focus on partnerships with telecom companies such as Telefonica and fintech companies such as ‘Nubank’ Some of the collaborations we will be targeting include ‘Controles Graficos’ and textile manufacturers ‘Evora SA’ and ‘Kaltex SA’ as well as institutions that promote gender inclusivity and healthcare in the Latam region including ‘Pro Mujer’ and ‘Women's World Banking’.

Adaptability: how does your idea adapt to frequent changes within the context you are implementing, due to COVID-19? Consider the rapidly shifting government policies, and healthcare economic realities that might influence end users.

We believe that our tech-enabled, gender-inclusive, community-centered model, can adapt fully to the evolving policy and socio-economic landscape in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Three factors that make our intervention particularly agile and adaptable are: (i) our long-term, strategic partnerships with multinational companies such as Unilever, Roche, RB, Philips, etc which helps us to transfer knowledge and technology rapidly (ii) a scalable, tech-centered, gender-inclusive, cloud-based solution that is focused on reintegrating women into the workforce which is critical to economic rejuvenation in the region and (iii) adaptive design that integrates our solution into existing systems while delivering ‘coordinated, compassionate care’ experience for health-seekers throughout the Latin American region. In South Asia, we have partnered with large telecom companies such as Telenor to deliver a high-resolution video-consultation that is essential to accurate diagnosis and treatment by our network of remotely located female doctors. This is something that we feel can be replicated in Latin America with companies such as Telefonica. Finally, our frontline ‘resident’ community health worker model in South Asia demonstrated both depth of impact and continuity of care because it is integrated with the public healthcare delivery system. We intend to replicate this approach in Latin America where the concept of ‘promotoras’ is already well established.

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