Grameen Health to Form Partnerships With Big Pharma

Grameen Health, an affiliate of Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank, has announced that it will establish independent partnerships with Pfizer, GE Healthcare, and Mayo Clinic to create sustainable models for healthcare delivery in the developing world.

According to Grameen Health, these multiple, independent collaborations will focus on social business models in which the businesses are self-supporting and any profits are re-invested into the system in order to reach more of the poor. This approach is cost-effective and maximizes the benefits that patients receive. The models will be transferable to other healthcare delivery systems.

The independent collaborations will initially explore and evaluate ways to improve the existing Grameen Health delivery and financing systems in Bangladesh, with the aim of creating models that can be adapted for the needs of the four billion people around the world whose annual income is less than $3,000.

Grameen Health and its partners hope to develop appropriate and sustainable models for healthcare delivery and rural primary care clinics, with the goal of replicating these models in other countries.

Pfizer is reportedly dedicating key employees to provide technical and advisory support to evaluate Grameen’s existing healthcare delivery systems in Bangladesh. GE Healthcare will test delivery of ultrasound capability in rural clinics for early detection of abnormalities, and Mayo Clinic will work to improve the training, efficiency, and retention of staff at existing Grameen Health Kalyan clinics.

In 2009, the collaborations will initially focus on – Implementing primary health promotion and disease prevention programs, analyzing ways to expand and improve the current low-cost micro-health delivery and insurance programs at Grameen Health’s 38 existing Kalyan clinics, developing continuous training programs for nurses, technicians and physicians, reviewing operating efficiencies and scope of services (telemedicine, mobile health care) at Grameen Health’s Kalyan clinics.

Omar Ishrak, president and CEO, clinical systems, GE Healthcare, said: “With the ubiquitous usage of ultrasound, GE believes it’s provided a crucial tool in the early care of expectant mothers. We intend to work with Grameen Health to further understand and expand ultrasound usage in rural areas. Through this pilot program we plan to train providers in the usage of ultrasound, evaluate the product, the training and the workflow that would be needed to enable the full deployment of this technology.”

Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, said: “As we address the challenges of global health access, we are pleased to partner with these and other organizations that share our belief that solutions to improving access to medicines and healthcare can be socially responsible and sustainable, yet commercially viable.”

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