Increasing access to affordable healthcare and creating jobs in Zambia

CARE International is working with Barclays and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop a social enterprise model in Africa to give more people access to affordable healthcare and support entrepreneurship.

CARE, Barclays and GSK aim to developing a network of community health entrepreneurs who will earn a living, while serving their local communities, by selling affordable health related products and promoting health awareness. The initial focus is to test the feasibility of the new model before it is piloted. 

Dennis O’Brien, Country Director, CARE International in Zambia, says:

“About two-thirds of Zambians live in poverty, and medicine is too expensive for many people. On top of this, supply problems mean that people who can afford to go to a clinic often find that there are no medicines available when they get there. Then there’s the distance issue: only half of rural households are within five kilometres of any kind of health facility. These challenges can make it difficult to access treatment for common illnesses. Diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea remain among the leading causes of death in children.”

The partnership seeks to tackle these challenges, and reduce the burden on the public health system through stimulating private enterprise. Alongside health promotion activities, the community health entrepreneurs will provide people with products needed not just to address illness – such as diarrhoea treatment kits – but offer preventative measures such as chlorine to disinfect dirty water. This would mean less time waiting in clinics and more time to focus on earning a living.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Christine Svarer Head of Private Sector Engagement adds:

‘CARE’s bottom line will always be the sustainable alleviation of poverty and our health work aims to improve the health of millions of the world’s poorest people. The methods of doing this have changed and today we recognise that working with large private sector companies has huge potential to make a difference to the lives of those we serve. We choose to face  the challenges and opportunities posed by these new relationships in the knowledge that our core purpose will always determine the decisions we make on who we choose to work with.

This is a new, bold and innovative collaboration between Barclays and GSK, who are two of  our biggest partners.  Through Banking on Change (Barclays) and the 20% reinvestment initiative (GSK), we have supported over 5m people in 13 countries with access to finance or health initiatives, so it’s really great to see them come together.   The combination of Barclays expertise in establishing new businesses, GSK’s understanding of the consumer health market combined with CARE’s ability to work with remote communities living in poverty and understanding of social enterprises makes a great foundation for a solid partnership and we are looking forward to seeing it develop’.

Acknowledging the importance of working in partnership, David Wheldon, Barclays Head of Brand, Reputation, Citizenship and Marketing says: “At Barclays, we recognise that the success of our business is linked to the growth of the societies in which we operate. By partnering with one of our key clients and global healthcare company, GSK, we can drive an innovative approach to a significant social challenge in Zambia. This is a great example of how we are exploring new ways to drive shared value for all.”