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Roving Healthcare Workers

Train a group of people in the basics of healthcare for issues common in the area, including nutrition and reproductive health. Provide them with the basic items that would be frequently needed such as nutrition packs, specialized baby formula, vaccines and condoms. Partner with the government to ensure that the services provided are covered by the mandatory health insurance and cover the majority of costs in this way. Other costs could be covered by small administration fees or by selling other non-essential goods.

Photo of Cara O'Shell
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The Service:
The workers would be from the local area, and trained in the most basic health care issues.  A focus would be placed on the issues that are most relevant to the community: 
  • basic pregnancy and infant health
  • malnutrition
  • proper nutrion
  • reproductive health
  • hygiene and sanitation

They would be equipped with the basic necessities for common scenarios:
  • mobile phone so they can be contacted by families
  • nutrition packs 
  • fortified formula for underweight infants
  • prenatal vitamins
  • basic vaccines
  • water sanitation products
  • condoms
  • other?

The workers will not be stationary, but will travel through given neighborhoods to check on families and sell the goods at cost or for a small fee (depending on the breakdown of the financials).

How do you envision this idea making money?

This concept would require working with the government to ensure the services provided are covered by the state health insurance. An initial step to implementing the project would also include enrolling the remaining 18.5% of the population with insurance. However, this could be the initial project for the workers -- it would be a way to get to know their specific communities and build a on-going relationship. A positive by-product of this system would be that the previously uninsured individuals would now also have access to traditional healthcare for more serious issues.

[General government spending on health accounted for 20.5% of total government expenditures and for 84.1% of total health expenditures (private expenditures made up the balance) in 2003. - Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Colombia]

The second source of income would be through "special visits." A worker could be called out to a location via mobile phone for a nominal fee.

The third way would be to charge a small fee for services, however, this would not be ideal.

How does this idea create social impact, particularly around improving health?

The focus of this concept is on providing health essentials and basic information directly to the areas where it is needed. This should also hedge against the absence of a culture of prevention.

How does this idea add social value at every step of the process?

1. By providing jobs and basic health education to local individuals (the health workers)
2. By involving the government in the lives of the people and maintaining that valuable connection
3. By focusing on preventative care, this lessens the overall cost of healthcare for individuals and the government
4. By providing services directly in the home instead of requiring families to go to facilities for their basic needs.

What are the short term steps we could take to implement this idea tomorrow?

Begin by looking at what is covered by government health insurance and become a certified health provider. Once this is done, the first step would be to begin training workers in those specific areas.

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Photo of Penny

This could be part of a '2-man' franchise with one operator at the hub & the other servicing outlying areas/families. Perhaps they could offer a 'step-wise' insurance: food security>access to diagnosis>dispensary of essential medications & treatments with delivery of the food/medication as part of the mobile service?

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