Two contemporary retailing ideas are making healthcare distribution in parts of Africa more effective. Both programs are in the development stage, and both are showing signs of success.
The first idea borrowed from current retail practice is franchising. A posting on the Forbes Magazine (New York) website on October 11, 2007 features an idea originated in 1997 by a lawyer from the United States.
According to the posting, the lawyer was travelling through Kenya and observed that basic healthcare needs--especially in rural areas--were not being met. Specifically, available generic drugs, used to treat common problems in Kenya, were not getting to consumers who needed them the most.
The medical problems were not exotic and did not require the intensely specialized care physicians in a fully operational modern hospital could provide.
Another critical observation was that "government clinics often ran out of drugs because of supply-chain problems, while roadside shops sold elixirs of dubious quality."
One of the elements that makes franchising successful in developed economies is that the franchise model establishes and maintains standards using a system of controls that are easily communicated, learned, and reviewed on a periodic basis.
A foundation was established to subsidize "nurses in rural areas to run 65 for-profit retail clinics in Kenya that provide basic...