Celebrate Solutions: Building Relationships, Accelerating Action

By: Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver

Over the past decade the global health community has seen a proliferation of MNCH innovations. Research on the efficacy of these innovations has not kept pace. Similarly, traditional business models have failed when it comes to making MNCH innovations affordable and accessible to those with the least resources and greatest need. Under these unfavorable conditions, innovators struggle to secure funding for untested MNCH products or programs that promise minimal, if any, profit. Scarce resources and capacity forces innovators to abandon their work at early stages even as women and children continue to suffer or die.

The Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) is working to address this through their maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) subsite. CHMI is a digital platform connecting people to market-based solutions for global health challenges. The new subsite provides an information-sharing and relationship-building mechanism to accelerate sustainable solutions to improve maternal, neonatal and child health, and is working to help innovators get their MNCH innovations where they are needed most. The portal hosts synthesized quantitative and qualitative information on MNCH innovations. It also promotes peer-to-peer learning and provides access to a network of potential funders including investors, donors and governments. After establishing a strong presence on the site, successful innovators can access the human and financial resources they need with relative ease, making it more likely that their innovation yields sustainable impact.

A good example of the type of program the MNCH portal features is Lifespring Hospitals Private Limited (LHPL), a hospital chain in India that provides high quality healthcare to lower-income women and children across the country. LifeSpring is a 50-50 equity partnership between HLL Lifecare Ltd. (HLL), a mini Ratna enterprise under India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the Acumen Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit global venture philanthropy fund.

LifeSpring hospitals use midwives to provide the majority of maternity care. LifeSpring doctors focus solely on complex cases. This approach to service delivery enables LifeSpring hospitals to charge between 30 and 50 percent of prevailing market rates for delivery—which in turn allows them to charge less for their services. At last count, LifeSpring had provided institutional delivery at an affordable cost to 5200 women from poor income groups.

Beyond individual programs, CHMI’s new portal holds the potential to advance the MNCH field as a whole by answering questions such as:

  • Where in the world are new MNCH practices being applied?
  • Which innovative approaches, such as franchising, microinsurance, and provider accreditation, are MNCH programs using?
  • How are MNCH programs geographically targeting their services, and what demographics are they serving?
  • Which MNCH programs integrate client services for family planning, TB, or HIV/ AIDS?

Collating this information is no small feat. Since CHMI launched in 2010, hundreds of thousands of people have used the website to learn about innovative solutions to expand access to quality, affordable health care products and services for the poor. By increasing access to information and facilitating fruitful connections, CHMI’s MNCH portal lowers the level of human and financial investment required to get MNCH innovations to those who need them most.

The CHMI MNCH portal is a pipeline to opportunity. And, while it cannot overcome all constraints limiting efficient advancement of promising MNCH health innovations, it can and does make shopping around for solutions a far easier task for anyone who is looking.

For more information on CHMI’s new MNCH portal, click here.

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