Social franchising has transformed access to family planning in Pakistan

Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health recently released another case study in their Global Health Innovation Insight SeriesThe case examines PSI’s partnership with Greenstar to address the unmet demand for family planning in Pakistan.

Needs assessments in Pakistan revealed women were aware of and had access to contraceptives, however they expressed a need for a greater variety of options. This outcome re-focused PSI efforts on health care providers who formed the link to options such as IUDs and longer term methods of birth control.

PSI also knew that the majority of low income women sought healthcare services from the private sector; but these facilities were generally not delivering family planning services. Gaps in training and skills were also prevalent among private providers.

“We learned that the private doctors were not motivated to provide family planning because they felt that it was the domain and responsibility of the public sector… they had little financial incentive.”

PSI realized they couldn't educate and train enough providers to make a meaningful difference in a country of 176 million. Moreover, how would clients know which providers to go to for these services? The solution was to brand and create a motivated private provider network – a social franchise.

Working with Greenstar allowed PSI to“strengthen existing healthcare infrastructure and organize the private sector on behalf of the public health agenda.”

Julie McBride, Technical Advisor at PSI also provides useful lessons for those trying to enter the social franchising space. She encourages innovators to utilize existing blueprints and warns against the tendency to prematurely jump to scale.

“Franchising is a great way to replicate a business strategy, but first you’ve got to make sure that your business is foolproof. We want to replicate success, not failure.”

Check out the case to learn more about this social franchising model!