Scott Anderson

Advancing Healthcare With the BoP: Why We Hope to Hear from You

Last week I sat in on a talk with Eric Sklar, general manager of surgeon products for Terumo Cardiovascular Systems. Sklar discussed the headwinds medical device makers are facing as they try to penetrate emerging markets, a dialogue that was part of the William Davidson Institute’s Global Impact Speaker Series. For Terumo, which sells a range of 6,000 medical devices – from relatively simple heart stents to incredibly sophisticated heart and lung machines – getting its products to the people who need them at BoP has proven very difficult considering the extremely limited funds of many hospitals and health centers.

That price pressure all but rules out high-tech equipment (and device makers cannot sell outdated equipment, even if it’s never been used). In some markets, patients are required to purchase in their own medical supplies, Sklar noted. Imagine if you were required to bring surgical tools or gauze to the operating room when you needed surgery?

Of course, this is not a hypothetical. The costs of basic medical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals, doctors and nurses – taxing enough for developed economies – often are overwhelming for the BoP, where the poverty penalty is even higher for patients navigating stressed health systems and infrastructure.

But at NextBillion, we try to identify problems and bring solutions to light. So, starting next week, NextBillion will begin a series we’re calling Advancing Healthcare With the BoP. In it, we hope to bring you success stories on what is making a real and lasting impact in market-based solutions to healthcare delivery. In addition to posts from our staff writers, the series will include articles from Ashoka and the Center for Health Market Innovations, both of which will share innovations, learnings and best practices from their fellows and experts in the field.

Finally, we need your help. One of the reasons we’re announcing this series one week in advance is because we’d like to bring our readers into the discussion. So, please consider this a formal invitation. Please send send us cases, articles, videos and other examples of healthcare innovations via email, to our Facebook page, to our LinkedIn or via Twitter @NextBillion using the hashtag: #bophealth. We hope to gather these ideas together for a post concluding the series.

We also would welcome your questions and input surrounding healthcare innovations during an upcoming Twitter chat. From 3-5 PM EST Wednesday, Feb. 23 NextBillion will join with Ashoka for its monthly #SocEntChat, a real-time Twitter-based discussion on social entrepreneurship that’s based around a specific theme each month. Mention @AshokaTweets and/or @NextBillion before Feb. 23 with any questions you have or issues you are interested in exploring. We’ll do our best to include this feedback in the chat. And be sure to invite your friends and followers to join the conversation, too. Again, the hashtag for the chat will be: #SocEntChat

We look forward to reading your ideas and examples, and doing our best to identify the health innovations we believe are worth sharing.

Health Care, Impact Assessment
Base of the Pyramid, William Davidson Institute