Healthcare in Africa has a long way to go. Rich and poor, we all want to have quality healthcare. However, not everyone has equal access to these services. While those Africans who can afford it travel abroad to get the treatments they need, others die because they can’t be diagnosed on time or receive the appropriate treatment.
While in Lagos, I learned about a pharmacist whose husband ended up with a warehouse in a not-so-good area of the city, and which didn’t serve its initial purpose. He suggested that she set a pharmacy there. She was hesitant as it was a poor neighborhood where no certified pharmacist operates. Would those people come as customers? They didn’t have acquisitive capacity and couldn’t afford to pay the extra money for a certified pharmacist… Still, she decided to go ahead and open her pharmacy.
People started coming, and the word spread that a certified pharmacist was in the area. Whatever little money they have, they save it to buy the drugs at this “proper pharmacy”: they know these are “the right drugs” that come with the assurance of a certified pharmacist, not from someone who doesn’t have the qualifications, and who delivers the not-so-good drugs which turn out less effective. People go to her pharmacy with whatever money they have, and say “this is as much as I can pay.” Jointly, they look for a solution to make it work out.
Fortunately, this pharmacist is not the only one bringing quality health-care to the poor:
- General Electric has developed a pocket-sized ultrasound tool that can make an important difference in diagnosis in countries with not so well developed healthcare systems. This innovation came from India, and they are now working with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health to introduce it across the country. Hopefully, other countries will follow soon.
- Through their Malaria Initiative, Novartis has provided 600 M malaria treatments to more than 60 countries and holds a research program working on the next generation of anti-malarial drugs. By the way, one of IESE’s MBA alumni led this effort in Kenya.
There are also many initiatives with this same purpose at a smaller scale. And I’m glad to share with you that the University of Navarra (to which IESE belongs) does its bit through its collaboration with Centre Hospitalier Monkole. Located in Kinshasa (Congo), Monkole’s mission is to offer quality Medicine for all in the middle of Africa. I guess you are familiar with some other similar initiatives: would you share them with us?
On a different note, this “out-of-the-oven” book by Prof. Franca Ovadje (Lagos Business School) looks promising “Change Leadership in Developing Countries”: it takes an African perspective and draws from case studies of African organizations.