Clinical social franchising: an annual compendium of programs, 2009

Clinical social franchising: an annual compendium of programs, 2009

Innovations in developing country health care delivery through social franchises

Social franchising represents one of the best known ways to rapidly scale up clinical health interventions in developing countries. Building upon existing expertise in poor and isolated communities, social franchising organisations engage private medical practitioners to add new services to the range of services they already offer. The summaries provided in this compendium by the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, reveal some of the innovations in developing country health care delivery that social franchises offer. Specific examples are provided, such as the Confiance programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The programme reports that its toll-free hotline for answering family planning-related questions and making referrals has proven to be a particularly effective way of addressing family planning concerns raised by men.

The document argues that standardisation, quality monitoring, and scalability make social franchising a model platform for the expansion and improvement of a wide range of medical services. The goals and definitions of social franchises reflected in this compendium were derived from a consensus meeting of leaders of major clinical social franchises from around the world, held in November 2008. Twenty-two programs fit the compendium’s definition of clinical social franchise and an additional eleven programmes with incomplete data are listed at the end. Clinical social franchises examined include the Gold Star Network in Kenya which have found that using mobile phones for short messaging service is an ideal way to follow up with clients. Also Smiling Sun in Bangladesh estimates that its network of clinics, formerly run by multiple NGOs, covers 10% of the Bangladeshi population.

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