Country of Operation
- HealthKeepers NetworkNot-for-profit
SummaryHealthKeepers is a social microfranchise program that applies tested business methods to provide poor rural communities with access to affordable health care products, services, and information.
HKN hopes to have 2,500 HealthKeepers actively reaching 50% of the underserved and rural communities of Ghana by 2016.
Key program components
The HKN is modeled after a door-to-door and sales approach, in which a neighborhood woman becomes the local sales representative, or a HealthKeeper, for a line of health products and services. The HealthKeepers go the last mile - right to the door step - to sell the basic health-promoting products in their communities, right from a basket on their heads. As the franchisor, the HKN provides the franchisees (HealthKeepers) with training on how to manage simple ailments of common occurrence, sales, health promotion, and health products among others.
The mix of products sold directly address common but deadly health problems while also building a revenue source for the women. The products sold by the franchisees include a mix of high impact, reasonably priced health-promoting products, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria, oral rehydration salts to protect infants and children from diarrhea-related death, home water-treatment tablets to ensure a safe water supply, contraceptives to enable family planning and other carefully selected services and personal care products which enhance or beef up incomes.
The program reports that encouraging HealthKeepers to document referrals and maintain reliable records has been a challenge. Plans are underway to simplify the reporting forms, and field personnel have begun intensifying trainings on how to write up referrals. Condom sales among shy HealthKeepers is also reported as a challenge. In response, HealthKeepers with a recognized record of condom sales are providing support to motivate their peers. Women who continue to feel shy are encouraged to sell condoms to Licensed Chemical Sellers at a profit margin, and a pilot strategy to bring men into the HealthKeepers distribution network is underway.
HealthKeepers was first a pilot by Freedom from Hunger, but is now an independent entity.
Related Blog Post
In many rural areas of Ghana, a ringing bell is the traditional way that itinerant sales agents announce their arrival in a village.