The Challenge

376 followers

How might we use social business to improve health in low-income communities? read the brief

Idea

'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!).
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.

Incentives
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).

Advantages
  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: http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/
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.

Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

SiuSue Mark

July 23, 2011, 00:33AM
Hi Sarah,
I really like this idea, too!
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 e.g. infant formulas, etc. As the success indicator if measured by the health and growth of infants, the companies will be incentivized to provide the best products, as the best products will induce additional growth and health of children. 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.

Sarah Fathallah

July 23, 2011, 01:40AM
Absolutely, I totally agree with you. I have tried to make the concept work on the most basic business model possible, but opportunities for external push might also be considered (CSR, government programs, etc.). Thanks!

Laci Videmsky

July 11, 2011, 02:52AM
Hi Sarah,

This sounds like an excellent implementable solution. I wonder as per your reply to Sergio, if there is a way to give away supplies rather than discount them. I would imagine that regular tracking has preventative benefits, which may prove enough economic incentive to warrant the free giveaway of relevant supplies. Just a hunch... I look forward to seeing the evolution of this concept.

Sarah Fathallah

July 11, 2011, 14:30PM
Hi Laci, thanks for the comment!
I guess it would be interesting for pharmacies only if a certain scale is reached (with a good number of customers and/or if the pharmacies belong to a single chain). I am not sure what would be the impact on supply management if we're talking about less than a hundred consumers (but I might be completely wrong).
We can also think of not including all types of medicines / medical supplies but only a certain number of them (highly necessary in the child's growth), this could help the model being more sustainable (the families receiving free baby supplies might be drawn to buy other types of medicine from the same pharmacy -> enhanced customer loyalty).

Shan Jayaweera

July 09, 2011, 13:54PM
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

Sarah Fathallah

July 11, 2011, 14:31PM
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!

Johan Löfström

July 27, 2011, 13:59PM
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)

Sarah Fathallah

July 11, 2011, 14:24PM
Sure, just linked both concepts!

Sergio Olavarrieta

July 12, 2011, 04:16AM
marvelous :)

Luz Alba Gallo

July 08, 2011, 04:12AM
Nice concept. Maybe you could think on a way to include home made medicines as a solution because many mothers use this medicines instead of going to a pharmacy and in some cases they work really well.

Sarah Fathallah

July 08, 2011, 14:51PM
Good idea Luz! I guess the main idea is just to monitor the well-being and growth of the child, and document along the way all the possible solutions to keep them grow healthily. Some of these solutions could possibly be home-made (even though it'll be hard to convince pharmacies not to sell their own manufactured products).

Sergio Olavarrieta

July 08, 2011, 00:40AM
Sarah! It's great to monitore the baby growth... I love that idea, because it's an incentive for mothers to look out for kids. But remember one thing, if kids now are at a high rate of mortancy, it's because mothers don't have money. So I think its better to think of a program that is not based on "discounts" because if you don't have money, what's a discount worth for?

I think there are a couple of incentives minus economic based, more centered on pride, security, otherness as the one that Meena proposes: a newspaper. Or the role on a cooperative.

I know we live in a world that is based on money, but exchange was before that.

That leads us to a neuralgic question: what, if not money?

Great work Sarah!!! I wanna hear what you think.

Sarah Fathallah

July 08, 2011, 14:50PM
Hi Sergio, thanks for the comment!
You're asking a very important question, and I guess one possible answer would be the idea Krassimira gave in her comment: a governmental program giving inventives to low-income families for performing regular medical check-ups for their children, which they can use to buy the medical supplies. The incentive itself could be the medical supplies actually (instead of money).

Sergio Olavarrieta

July 08, 2011, 20:28PM
That sounds very nice because the government will take part, not directly but as publicity, they can show off this. I was telling Architecture Commons in their "Franchise Health Clinic Network" that we always think in allopathy as the best option, but if you remember, herbalist was before, and it was effective. So I thought, why if the people of Caldas be trained (re-trained) in "herbal culture" and maybe them, maybe others use that plants to make efficient medicines?

That will make another business... and that maybe more suitable for people living in Caldas. And maybe, you could generate an alternative medicine out of Colombia, and then spread to the world.

What do you think? I will write this down for sure, but first, do you imagine that working out with your concept? Could you have any other ideas to turn this finding into a business model?

Krassimira Iordanova

July 07, 2011, 13:05PM
Hey Sarah, great concept and lovely visuals! I read somewhere recently that in Mexico and Brazil women are given financial incentives from the government for performing regular medical check ups for their babies and themselves. The programs were very successful.

Sarah Fathallah

July 07, 2011, 18:12PM
Thanks for your comment Krassimira! This could actually be a good alternative biz model to the concept. Or even an addition, to make sure the incentives are out there, for both parties :)

Meena Kadri

July 07, 2011, 03:08AM
Lot to love on this one, Sarah. Especially the simplicity of it's core proposition and your fab visuals!

Sarah Fathallah

July 07, 2011, 03:36AM
Thanks Meena!

Vincent Cheng

July 06, 2011, 19:00PM
Nice linking of discounted food & medical supplies with regular health/growth tracking, improving children's health, saving mothers money, & increasing loyalty for pharmacies! Great idea Sarah =).

I'm also thinking there might be interesting linkages with the "market vendors-clinicians cooperative" concept: http://www.openideo.com/open/how-might-we-improve-health-care-through-social-business-in-low-income-communities/concepting/market-vendors-clinicians-cooperative/

Sarah Fathallah

July 06, 2011, 21:03PM
Thanks Vincent :)
Thanks for the link, I think so too! I guess one first linkage would be to use 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?

Johan Löfström

July 06, 2011, 18:50PM
Simple but very excellent!
Great concept!
I know how much mothers love to discuss with other mothers on the progress of their babies. Perhaps it would become possible for the mums in the neighbourhood to do their own "investigative comparisons" of how their diet influenced their respective daughters and sons. If the health and nutrition advice they received was followed it could be noted on the charts in some way? To keep until the kids are growing old, like the vaccination records or a passport?

Sarah Fathallah

July 06, 2011, 20:47PM
Thanks Johan! I guess this could be an idea to investigate, but somehow I feel like a lot of communities still trust word of mouth more than anything else. Although, if we're trying to encourage them to document their childrens growth, we might as well help them document how to grow them healthy and strong.
Any ideas how to do that? Maybe we can distribute a health record booklet alongside the loyalty card?
Login
Close
Login to OpenIDEO
 
or