In 2019, USAID awarded $150,000 in prizes to private organizations with a track record for innovative, privately-led approaches with strong scale-up potential that have helped expand access to affordable, accountable, and reliable health services for poor and vulnerable groups. Winners were announced at an United Nations General Assembly event in September 2019 and each finalist was awarded $25,000 in funding under USAID’s Innovation Incentive Award Authority.
Despite many years of commitments from national governments and global health partners to improve access to and the quality of primary health care, vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) continue to face barriers to achieving better health outcomes.
Many LMIC health systems remain under-resourced and over-burdened, leaving many people without access to quality basic health care services. With the partnership of private and civil society, including faith-based and community partners, working alongside LMIC public health systems, USAID is able to optimally support countries as they work to meet health goals.
About the Prize:
USAID’s Office of Health Systems recognizes that optimal health systems ensure that people receive the health care they need in ways they trust without having to pay too much or travel too far. The private commercial sector, small and women-owned businesses, and civil society can provide new approaches that break down barriers to accessing health services and optimize health systems. In turn, a strengthened health system can deliver better health outcomes at lower cost and help counteract the negative effects of poor economic conditions on health. This helps USAID-supported partner countries on their journey toward self-reliance.
USAID's Inclusive Health Access Prize was a global call for proven successes in expanding access to life-saving basic health care in low- and middle-income countries. This prize recognized and incentivized work that demonstrates how integration and partnership between public and private sectors expands access to affordable, accountable, and reliable health services for poor and vulnerable groups. The aim was also to celebrate and spur a broad range of approaches that are sustainable, scalable, and replicable. USAID spotlighted and facilitated access to funding and other support so proven models can obtain maximum reach and impact.
USAID’s Inclusive Health Access Prize competition recognizes private sector organizations that are collaborating with the public health sector on locally-led innovations to improve accountability, affordability, accessibility, and reliability of health care for poor and vulnerable populations. Their approaches address local health challenges within the local health system and demonstrate a vision for expanding to new geographies and bringing primary health care to more people.
The judging panel for USAID’s Inclusive Health Access Prize selected five winners from Cameroon, India, Nigeria, and Senegal that have developed solutions to optimize health systems so that people receive the health care they need in ways they trust without having to pay too much or travel too far. Each of these solutions has the potential to be adapted, replicated, or scaled to other countries or local contexts to meet priority health care needs.
On September 24, 2019, these five awardees won cash prizes for their solutions and had the opportunity to present them at Locally Leading The Way To UHC: USAID's Inclusive Health Access Prize in New York City. If you were unable to view the event, you may watch the video of the event, read the fact sheet, and read the palm cards.
Find out more about the winners below.
In Cameroon, GIC Med improves women’s access to services they might not otherwise seek or receive by bringing breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment to public and private health centers. Using a portable microscope connected to a smartphone and telemedicine app, women are screened, diagnosed, and treated at rural public and private health centers that partner with GIC Med. If early stage lesions are detected, GIC Med provides treatment at the point of care using mobile treatment units. Women no longer have to travel far and make repeated trips to be screened, diagnosed, and treated, and are therefore more likely to access their care and seek additional health information.
Infiuss is an online blood bank and digital emergency supply monitor in Cameroon that provides hospitals and patients with more reliable access to blood. Many health care facilities in Cameroon lack blood banks and patients seldom know how to locate hospitals with an available supply. In addition, patients are required to have three back up donors accompany them to the health facility when getting a transfusion, and may have to pay more than $80 for a single bag of blood. To address this costly burden and provide more reliable access to blood supplies, Infiuss created a database with information on hospital blood banks that allows them to locate and transport blood to patients or hospitals in need. This saves the patient time and money, allowing them to get the health services they need more quickly and reliably. To access Infiuss’ services, patients send an SMS, make a phone call, or use a mobile application to request a blood type and quantity. Infiuss then locates the needed blood at a partner hospital and delivers it to the patient.
JokkoSanté is a health-focused digital payments app that improves accountability in the local health system in Senegal by tracking medicines and enabling payments for health services. The desktop and mobile app allows patients to earn “points” for turning in unused medicines rather than giving them to family members or friends, which has the potential to cause harm. NGOs, foundations, individuals (especially diaspora), and health programs can also purchase and designate online “points” for target populations. The recipients use the points to pay for medical and prescription needs in pharmacies. Individuals may microsave by purchasing points for themselves to ensure that when a medical need arises, they are able to afford care. JokkoSanté also brings greater accountability to the management of pharmaceuticals by tracking use of medicines and online prescriptions.
In Nigeria, mDoc advances the accessibility and reliability of health care for people with a range of health conditions through a high-tech, high-touch mobile and web-based solution that provides personalized preventive and integrated care support. Individuals sign up to receive virtual and in-person services such as digital tools, nudges, and meetings that help them create and achieve their health goals. mDoc partners with a mix of public and private health care facilities to create a connected ecosystem of preventive and integrated care solutions for people with a range of health needs.
Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute
The Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute provides community outreach programs and telemedicine services that make health care more affordable and accessible to underserved and marginalized populations in India. Designed to complement the Government of India’s public health care system, their telephone-based “helpline” improves access to health information, including advice for minor ailments, and helps link health workers to underserved areas. Piramal Swasthya operates a mobile medical van with a basic laboratory and pharmacy that travels to rural areas to deliver primary care services, particularly on maternal, child, and adolescent health, as well as non-communicable diseases.
Throughout the prize competition, USAID received nearly 400 applications from 68 countries with solutions ranging from community health worker models, to online blood banks, to “Uber” for ambulances, to digital health care payment accounts.
In addition to the five winners, the judging panel selected six other finalists that have developed solutions to optimize health systems so that people receive the health care they need in ways they trust without having to pay too much or travel too far. Find out more about the finalists below.
Flare makes emergency health care more accessible across Kenya by streamlining how community members access ambulance services and improving response times during emergencies. By using technology to integrate fragmented emergency response systems into a single app, Flare is able to send designated routes to ambulances within minutes of receiving a call. Thanks to Flare’s services, the local health system––including providers and patients––is supported by greater access to emergency services.
Gramin Health Care
Gramin Health Care in India complements the public health system by establishing physical clinics in rural areas with less access to primary health care. The clinics are equipped with smart digital interventions, medicines, diagnostic devices, and trained local health workers from nearby communities. They also provide telemedicine services––including cloud-based digital health records––for people who cannot access a clinic.
Lwala Community Alliance
Lwala Community Alliance increases access to health care for disadvantaged communities in Migori County, Kenya by providing home-based services. The organization trains, pays, and supervises community health workers, including traditional birth attendants. The health workers improve the accessibility and reliability of care–– including diagnosing and treating common illnesses––by working with seven public health facilities through a Quality Improvement Initiative. Lwala Community Alliance is partnering with Kenya’s Ministry of Health to ensure the model is expanded to reach the entire county.
Safari Doctors is a community-based organization in Lamu, Kenya that works with the Lamu County Department of Health to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to remote villages by dispatching free mobile clinics by boat and by road. The clinics visit remote communities monthly to provide basic health services. The organization also trains young people to encourage them to become health leaders in their communities and fosters public participation by building women’s capacity to engage in county health budget processes and inform policy.
Through a partnership with Mozambique’s Ministry of Health, Source Code’s mHealth platform provides vulnerable populations with free health care information, including answers to anonymous health questions, and health center location and contact details at no cost via cell phone. With 80 percent of adult Mozambicans using cell phones, the platform is increasing the accessibility, affordability, and reliability of health care information and services.
Uthabiti Pharmacy is a community pharmacy that provides primary health care services, products, and referrals to clients in Kenya. The pharmacy enhances the health system with reliable pharmaceutical products and increases accountability by empowering communities to verify their medicines through a text message service as a way to ensure they are not counterfeit. The pharmacy strategically places its locations in residential areas to make products and services more affordable and to improve access to the communities who need them most.