Social Franchises are groups of providers organized into a network that operates under the same brand. Individual outlets are operator-owned, and the network of outlets delivers specific health services that are standardized by a central franchisor. A social franchise aims to improve access to quality health services by expanding the number of service delivery points and overall health services offered and by adhering to specific quality standards. The model also strives to implement cost-effective measures and commits to equity by providing services to all, emphasizing the most vulnerable and in need.
The majority of CHMI social franchise programs focus on family planning and reproductive health; maternal, newborn, and child health; or HIV/AIDS. Additionally, social franchises have had considerable impacts on the changing landscape of primary healthcare. Over the past 10 years, low-and-middle income countries have seen substantial growth in the number of private organizations that are striving to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality care for the poor, while simultaneously making a profit and/or achieving sustainability. Groups such as Bidan Delima, One Family Health, and Botika ng Bayan are CHMI program implementing the social franchise model in order to create opportunities for trained and qualified nurses, midwives, and pharmacists to own and operate their own health outlets.
The Global Health Group at The University of California, San Francisco has been surveying clinical social franchising programs since 2008 to produce the Clinical Social Franchising Compendium. In 2013, the group identified over 90 clinical social franchising programs, more than two dozen of which recently launched or were preparing to launch. In 2014, clinical social franchises are operating in over 40 countries, and it is expected that this number will continue to grow.
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BlueStar is the 160-member social franchise network of Marie Stopes International Organization Nigeria (MSION) that leverages existing health care providers as franchisees to form sexual and reproductive health clinics.