How do you get basic care to the remotest villages in Africa? One clever idea is to borrow tactics from retail chains like McDonald's and Subway--operate an easy-to-replicate, owner-operated franchise system focusing on health care.
Minnesota lawyer and businessman Scott Hillstrom started HealthStore in 1997 after traveling through Kenya and noticing that one of the big problems there was lack of reliable access to basic generic drugs. Government clinics often ran out of drugs because of supply-chain problems, while roadside shops sold elixirs of dubious quality. "It hit me like a bolt out of the blue," he recalls: A franchise system would be a way to maintain standards and improve the supply chain.
With a budget of under $1 million a year, HealthStore Foundation subsidizes nurses in rural areas to run 65 for-profit retail clinics in Kenya that provide basic treatments for malaria, respiratory infections and worms.
The 65 clinics run under the name CFW Shops and treated 400,000 patients last year.
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