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'Crecer y Ahorrar' / Grow & Save

Child Growth Monitoring Chart + Rewards Loyatly Card = A pharmacy rewards program allowing mothers to buy cheaper food and medical supplies for their babies while monitoring their growth (UPDATED!).

Photo of Sarah Fathallah
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Growth chart
Every mother in Caldas is given a personalized card including a Child growth chart to allow monitoring  the physical growth curves of their kid. In order to do so, the mom takes her baby/toddler to a pharmacy in Caldas to be measured and weighted. 
The evolution of these metrics is documented in the growth chart, which allows the pharmacists as well as the mom to keep an eye on the health and weel-being of the child.

Loyalty card
Each growth chart is also linked with a loyalty card, enabling mothers to buy cheaper medical supplies and food for their babies. The rewards are built into the task of taking the child to be measured in the pharmacy itself, but also on previous purchases.

This system brings incentives for both mothers and pharmacies:
  • Mothers willing to save money will not miss a deadline and will keep coming back to the pharmacy,
  • Pharmacies will benefit from customer loyalty and more predictable purchase periods (which can help better managing their stocks).

  1. The more moms keep track of their child's health and buy appropriate food and medical supplies to help them grow, the more they save money over time. And being in regular touch with pharmacists can also help detect and prevent potential diseases from early stages.
  2. Mothers also benefit from the knowledge pharmacists share with them in order to keep their children healthy. They are given easy instructions and advice (nutrition -esp. breastfeeding, physical activity, vaccinations, appropriate health care, etc.), that they can spread within their community.
  3. On a bigger scale, documenting the growth of Calda's children will become a valuable information to centralize and consolidate, and potentially use that to tailor new specific programs to particular areas where there is an identified healthcare need (Thank you Shan for pointing out this!). This information could not only include the growth metrics, but also tips and nutrition advice (ie. how their diet influenced the growth of their children) (Thanks Johan for this one).

Alternative models: government program / CSR initiative
1. Another alternative would be to convince the government to craft a program giving financial incentives to low-incomes families for performing regular medical check ups for their babies and themselves (thanks  Krassimira for this idea). Such program has already proven to be successful in countries like Brazil or Mexico. This would especially be helpful for communities that cannot afford medicines (cf.  Sergio's comment). And certain necessary medical supplies could be given away for free given the economic incentive that regular tracking of supplies represents (thanks  Laci for this discussion).

2.  Another element to making money for the idea is to solicit the partnership of companies that produce infant/child nutrition and medical products. Particularly for large companies that are keen to maintain a "safe for children" brand image globally, their CSR arm may be willing to provide products at lower cost to the pharmacies. If the project can be scaled up nationally and/or if it draws  alot of media attention, this can be a very effective may to keep these companies in check and competing to provide the best quality products (thanks  SiuSue Mark for this idea).

Other possible add-ons:
Looking at the ' Market Vendors-Clinicians Cooperative' concept, we can think of  using market days as an opportunity to promote this reward program. Or maybe have clinicians and/or pharmacists helping parents picking the right food for their kids as well? (Thanks  Vincent for the pointer!).

Image credits and more info:

How do you envision this idea making money?

This idea is grafted onto existing businesses (ie. pharmacies in Caldas). An additional source of revenue for pharmacy owners would be if the government (or international organizations) is willing to pay for consolidated and documented infant health information collected at each visit. We could also think of a CSR partnership with companies that produce infant/child nutrition and medical products: their CSR arm may be willing to provide products at lower cost to the pharmacies.

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

- Monitoring children's growth: Monitoring a child's growth is an important step to keep an eye on his health and well-being. Being in regular touch with pharmacists can also help detect and prevent potential diseases from early stages. - Involving mothers in the learning process: The information mothers learn throughout this process (nutrition -esp. breastfeeding, physical activity, vaccinations, appropriate health care, etc.) is very valuable, and can be easily spread throughout their communities.

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

Convince one pharmacy. Then the other. And the next one. And all of them.

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. How well do you think this concept considers life in low-income communities?

It is highly relevant to low-income communities - 50%

It is somewhat relevant to low-income communities - 37.5%

It does not significantly consider low-income communities - 12.5%

2. How effectively does this concept use social business principles (that is, it has social benefits for the community but does not pay dividends?)

This concept uses social business principles very well - 42.9%

This concept could be easily modified to incorporate social business elements - 14.3%

This concept does not connect with social business very well - 42.9%

3. How easy would it be to implement this concept?

Easy! This could be started immediately - 66.7%

It would take some time and planning – but I bet I could see progress in the near future - 33.3%

This concept would need extensive planning, partnerships & resources in place to get going - 0%

4. To what extent will this concept improve people’s health?

This concept would significantly improve people’s health and wellbeing - 62.5%

This concept seems like it might improve health, although maybe indirectly - 25%

This concept doesn’t really have much to do with health - 12.5%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world! - 50%

I liked it but preferred others - 37.5%

It didn’t get me overly excited - 12.5%


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


A really great idea that targets infant malnutrition and would definitely help with that infant mortality rate too. You could have some kind of linked computer database that could return real data about the health of the population and in turn use that to tailor new specific programs to particular areas where there is an identified need

Photo of Sarah Fathallah

Hi Shan! This is a great idea. If we're marking families and pharmacists document the growth of the majority of the region's children, this might be a valuable information to centralize and consolidate. Thanks for the add-on!

Photo of Johan Löfström

perhaps it would be possible to make mothers send their card of all their children by post to get them scanned in a central register? (voluntary participation, postage stamps pre-paid?)

Try to make this regularly, perhaps every 12 or 18 months, or when the families oldest child have their 1st, 3rd and 5th birthday? The cards will be resent after a week or two, back to the family, perhaps together with symbolic gift, discount coupons or other offers on lowered price on health-products? as encouragement on their progress.

Doctors or Health department could send along advice on new products that they recommend (as a sponsored deal)

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