LifesavHERs is an on-demand network of up-skilled female frontline health workers who deliver life-saving interventions in underserved communities.
The exclusion of women in the workforce in both developing countries and mature markets has resulted in not only a massive loss of human potential but also loss of human life - especially in developing countries such as Pakistan where over 140 million people continue to lack access to quality, affordable healthcare.
In Pakistan, the good news is that the government has trained over 100,000 female Frontline Health Workers (referred to as Lady Health Workers or LHWs). The bad news is that over 80,000 of these workers are unemployed or underemployed and both physically and technologically disconnected from the mainstream health system.
LifesavHERs is an on-demand network of up-skilled female frontline health workers (FHWs) who deliver life-saving interventions in underserved communities. Lady Health Workers (LHWs), nurses and community midwives are recruited, equipped and trained on ICT hardware/software (tablets,broadband connectivity and point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tools such as handheld ultrasound) and then deployed in a rotational hub-and-spoke model. The hubs (community wellness centers) are operated by female retailers (Guddi Bajis) with inventory supplied by Unilever and major pharmaceutical companies via a social business model. The spokes consist of a group of 4-6 female FHWs who cover a cluster of between 6-8 villages and prioritize end-user cases based on guidance provided by AI-inputs and predictive analytics.
All FHWs are trained on Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) and can escort acute patients/trauma victims in ambulances/ambulettes to the nearest tertiary care center while delivering life-saving interventions at point-of-care or during transport to the trauma center, guided by remotely located Emergency Room (ER) physicians and trauma surgeons.
We envision a world where over 5 million Female Frontline Health Workers can deliver high-quality, community-based healthcare,while connected via technology to the conventional health system. This will significantly enhance the quality, affordability and access to healthcare for the underserved in developing countries (and even in some developed nations such as the US).
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Karachi, Pakistan
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
What makes our solution innovative:
The LifesavHERs project by Naya Jeevan is unique in that it: leverages technology, (ii) up-skills frontline health workers and (iii) involves a large-scale public-private collaboration between Unilever, doctHERs (a 2017 MIT SOLVE winner) and the Punjab provincial government).
We recruit, capacitate, and equip frontline health-workers (midwives, etc) with laptops, tablets and smartphones. These trusted intermediaries are essential to our model as they help to build trust with health consumers in a culture which values interpersonal human interaction (as opposed to virtual). By leveraging technology, we are able to amplify access to quality healthcare to remote rural and urban slum populations alike.
How technology is integral to our solution:
The technologies we apply include the following: (i) HD video-consultation linked to a digital health platform; (ii) AI & big data-enabled Predictive Analytics to help our FHWs prioritize the geographies and cases they cover in the field and (iii) Point-of-Care digital diagnostics (e.g. handheld Ultrasound, ECG, fetal heart monitoring, etc)
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
Our goals over the next 12 months are to: (i) positively impact the health outcomes of 210,000 women and children in our target population in 3500 rural villages across Punjab in which Unilever is currently delivering their 'Mera Sona Gaon' community activation project; (ii) deliver over 500 life-saving interventions at point of care and (iii) demonstrate the technological and clinical feasibility of this program at a scale of 200 frontline health workers deployed via this model.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
Our vision over the next 3 years is to scale this project to capacitate and deploy all 55,000 LHWs available in the province of Punjab (the largest province in Pakistan with a population of ~110 million people). We hope to connect these 55,000 'spokes' to 7000 Guddi Baji retail outlet 'hubs' (women-operated health and wellness stores) that are supported by Unilever and several pharmaceutical partners.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
We access our end-users (customers) via corporate value chains. We partner with large corporations such as Unilever and market and distribute our health & wellness plan to their value chain workers. A recent augmentation/add-on to this plan has been the activation and deployment of tech-enabled frontline health workers who are available in factories, distribution centers and corporate offices. These FHWs are able to connect workers in value chains to doctors/specialists via HD-video-consultation & telemedicine.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
Our current beneficiaries include 22,000 low-income (income less than $5/day) workers who are linked to corporate value chains and work in factories where it is relatively easy to deploy up-skilled, tech-enabled female frontline health workers (FHWs). These workers are able to easily schedule appointments with a factory-based FFHW on-site who is able to conduct a full history and physical exam and then connect them in real-time to a doctor/specialist for more advanced care (via HD video-consultation). This saves these workers an average of 150 minutes in round-trip commute time and a half day's wage at the very least.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
We will launch a 2nd iteration of our program in Pakistan in Sept 2018 in collaboration with Unilever & doctHERs in which we will deploy 200 FHWs across 1500 rural villages in Punjab over 12-months. Each village will have a designated wellness 'hub' operated by a Unilever-supported retailer (a 'Guddi Baji) from where FHWs can obtain medical supplies and prescription medicines.
The project will be scaled by 2030 to enlist all 55,000 FHWs available in Punjab (a 38x scale-up) in collaboration with the Punjab government impacting over 30 million lives by 2030 (30 by '30).
How our solution team is organized:Hybrid of For Profit and Nonprofit
How many people work on our solution team:20+
How many years we have been working on our solution:5-10 years
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
We are a diverse team of cross-sectoral experts - with over 60 cumulative years of experience in the following industries: pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance, online education, AI technology, big data science, design thinking, gender-inclusion and women's entrepreneurship.
Over the past 5 years, we have taken our social business (Naya Jeevan) to scale and profitability. We are now embarking on a major scale-up/amplification of the frontline health worker initiative to enable us to further amplify our impact.
Our revenue model:
For every dollar we collect from corporations (on behalf of their value-chain workers), ~30% covers the health underwriting costs, ~35% covers our direct healthcare service delivery costs (including frontline health workers), ~15% covers our operating expenses, yielding a net profit margin of ~20% at the unit economic level.
We are already a profitable/sustainable social business. The frontline health workers are an additional innovative service, add-on to our health & wellness plans.
Why we are applying to Solve:
(i) Access to Human talent: having access to MIT"s entrepreneurial and tech-enriched ecosystem would be phenomenal for our organization and its ability to amplify its impact
(ii) Access to Growth Capital: we believe like-minded impact investors will be interested in helping us to replicate our model in other emerging markets (e.g East Africa, etc)
The key barriers for our solution:
(i) Access to Human Talent: remains a challenge for social enterprises - accessing MIT's talent pool would be a major help
(ii) Access to Growth Capital: we operate in a frontier market (Pakistan) where the human need for our services is great but where it is very challenging to raise growth capital.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: