Hi Marichu - thanks for your insightful question. The female doctors that we employ in this healthcare delivery model are compensated directly by us (doctHERs) and are either flexi-time, salaried employees or fee-for-service, independent contractors. The Punjab (provincial) government is financing the HD video-consultation component of this model as part of an innovation project and the path to scale is for the Punjab government to take over the complete cost of the HD-video-consultation (~$3.50 per consult) in order for this model to become completely sustainable.
Based on women-centered design thinking immersions we've conducted in the recent past, we've identified 3 primary reasons for female doctors not participating in the workforce: (i) Perceived security concerns with relocating to and/or practicing medicine in unsafe work environments in urban centers, post-conflict zones, urban slums and remote rural communities; (ii) socio-cultural barriers that discourage women from actively participating in the workforce - these include an outdated but still quite prevalent social belief system that views work as something that is done out of sheer, economic necessity (i.e for self-survival and not for self-actualization) - many parents/in-laws believe that they have the financial resources to care for their daughters/daughters-in-law; therefore, according to their logic, she should not have to work; (iii) transitional exclusion due to pregnancy/childbirth/raising a family or family care - this 'voluntary' exit from the workforce typically lasts anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 years depending on the situation; the longer the exit, the harder it is to re-enter the workforce, due to the rapid advancement of clinical knowledge and systemic bias. Rigid health systems have yet to adapt to the needs of a more agile, gender-inclusive workforce, but technology (assisted telemedicine) is enabling women to leapfrog or circumvent many of these systemic barriers.
Hello Temba - thanks for your question. You raise some important issues. The way we've addressed the potential conflict of interest is that we've embedded female frontline health workers with each brand activation team. The female frontline health workers (FFHWs) do not market Unilever products .- their primary responsibility is to create demand for health & wellness services (including vaccinations) via medical camps and in-home, town-hall style gatherings. Unilever's consumer brand activators play a secondary, supportive role in informing the community of these events (the immunisation camps also offer free medical screenings, check-ups, etc. in addition to the vaccination services and connect beneficiaries to remotely located, qualified female doctors via FFHW-assisted telemedicine). The brand activator's consumer brand messaging remains their primary focus.
The rural communities that we work in have historically had have a number of misconceptions and myths around vaccines, e.g. vaccines may cause infertility. Multiple, interpersonal and trust-building exercises were required to gain the confidence of these communities - that we're genuinely concerned about their welfare and health. The brand activators and female frontline health workers (who usually originate from similar communities, are from the same ethnic group and speak the local dialect) play a critical role in bridging this initial trust gap. These trusted intermediaries are also an essential component in the effectiveness of our HD video-consultation model with remotely-located female doctors - directly connecting end-users to these doctors would not have had the same impact.
Another aspect of trust that we've built up with these communities is that we will not violate their individual privacy by circulating any videos of their clinical interaction with our female doctors on social media without their informed consent (we use HD-video-consultation as the interface between our doctors and these communities and a random sub-set of these interactions are recorded for medical education purposes and quality control/clinical audits by specialists/consultants so this is a reasonable concern).
Hi Chioma: Thanks very much for your additional feedback. Just to clarify, we've been working with corporate value chains (suppliers, distributors, retailers, etc) over the past 7 years in Pakistan. During that time, we've been interviewing/engaging our customers on a regular basis to better understand their 'holistic' needs - we now directly deliver services that tackle some of our customer's identified needs (e.g asset protection, health/life/disability insurance, employee/family health & wellness, etc). We also a partnering with other innovators/companies to facilitate/provide access to other needs (e.g. digital financial services, agri-value chain financing, inputs, etc). It's during this 7 year relationship that we've come to understand the need for a last-mile rural-to-urban cold-chain and the corresponding availability of last-mile micro-distributors (many of whom are participating in our health & wellness plan) who can provide the last-mile linkage into underutilized corporate cold chains (operated by many, fragmented 3rd party distributors). The reason for providing this context is so that the competition judges and the Amplify team can appreciate that we have these established relationships with relevant stakeholders in the agri-value chain ecosystem. It will be easier for us to implement this idea on the ground given that we already have these established relationships with micro-distributors, conventional distributors and corporations (as well as implementing partners who also have established relationships with farmers). I hope this description provides some additional clarity to our model. Cheers!