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How can we scale social enterprises that are adapting to covid-19 and transforming health care in developing countries?

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Even before covid-19 spread across the globe, people in low- and middle-income countries faced obstacles to accessing health care: poor information about health conditions and healthy behaviors; geographic barriers to access; availability and quality of health professionals, diagnostics and medicines; affordability of services. Local entrepreneurs are responding to these challenges by introducing new technologies and innovative delivery strategies to reach new users, lower costs, improve care, all while pursuing sustainable, private sector business models.

With the emergence of covid-19, these social enterprises are well positioned to adapt rapidly and leverage their platforms to address the healthcare needs of patients and public health systems in holistic ways. Their models often already work to cut out in-person clinic visits, optimize use of healthcare providers, proactively monitor health data, and quickly share health information.

Despite the promise of their solutions, social enterprises require support to sustainably scale their innovations, and integrate with health systems to achieve health impact. Investors, business service providers and incubators, and policymakers must learn how to support promising health innovations, so that their innovations can accelerate health impact and contribute to resilient health systems.

The USAID Local Health System Sustainability (LHSS) Project provided technical assistance to five social enterprises from Senegal, Nigeria, India and Cameroon to support their innovations’ scale and sustainability. These organizations are the winners of USAID’s Inclusive Health Access Prize (IHAP) competition, which rewarded locally-led innovations in service delivery, designed to improve health care access for poor and vulnerable populations. This panel discussion will feature the entrepreneurs who lead these promsining health social enterprises, and feature a discussion on: 1) how they’ve adapted their businesses in response to covid-19, 2) strategies for integration and transformation of the broader health systems in which they operate, 3) the challenges they face in reaching broader scale, and 4) the types of capital and technical support they require to scale.

Confirmed Panelists

Panelists can be confirmed if session is accepted.

Unconfirmed Panelists

Nneka Mobisson, mDoc Nneka Mobisson is co-founder and CEO of mDoc, a social enterprise that integrates proven methodologies in quality improvement and behavioral science with web and mobile-based technology to optimize the end to end care experience for people living with chronic health needs such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Prior to mDoc, Nneka was Executive Director for Africa at Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leading global health organization focused on healthcare quality improvement. A pediatrician by training, Nneka was previously Vice President of Community Health and Population Health Management at the Connecticut Hospital Association, a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company, and also worked at The World Bank on investing in private health care and developing the health care strategy for Africa. She earned a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, her MPH from Emory University, and her MD/MBA from Yale University

Melissa Bime, Infiuss  – Melissa Jane Bime is the Founder and CEO at INFIUSS an online blood bank and digital supply platform connecting hospitals and giving patients facilitated access to blood in Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire. Trained as a nurse, Melissa founded INFIUSS after her experience working in a hospital and witnessing too many patient deaths as a result of hospitals failing to source compatible blood for life-saving transfusions. Among other accolades, Melissa was named a 2018 Laureate of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and a USAID Inclusive Health Access Prize winner in 2019.

Conrad Tankou, GIC Med – Conrad Tankou is the founder and CEO of GIC Med, which offers cutting edge and cost-effective MedTech and telemedicine innovations that enable poor, remote and rural communities to access affordable healthcare. Their technology allows the early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancers by low resource, frontline health care workers. GIC Med has won the Next Einstein Prize for best health startup in Africa in 2018, and USAID’s Inclusive Health Access Prize in 2019, among other accolades. Conrad was born and raised in Cameroon. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Yaounde I, Cameroon.

April Warren (Moderator) –  April Warren is a Private Sector Advisor for Abt Associates with over 12 years of experience in global health. Warren has dedicated much of her career to supporting social enterprises in health in emerging markets. This has included managing a USAID- and DFID-financed Health Enterprise Fund that provided financing and technical support to early-stage enterprise in sub-Saharan Africa, and designing a technical support program for the five winners of USAID’s Inclusive Health Access Prize. Previously,  Warren served as an Innovation Advisor at USAID’s Global Development Lab, and worked for a sanitation social enterprise in Cambodia. Warren holds an MS from the Harvard School of Public Health and a BA from the University of Michigan.

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