Learn and Launch Program Kicks off In Nairobi

When innovators face common challenges, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Through CHMI-facilitated learning activities, program managers have been exploring how they can share ideas and work together to overcome organizational roadblocks.

Learn and Launch is a new peer-learning initiative for leading health programs to brainstorm, share and test practices that will help tackle specific operational roadblocks impeding growth and scale. It provides innovators an opportunity to learn and try new solutions quickly – all within a supportive network of peer organizations, regional partners, and the broader Center for Health Market Innovations community.

Through Learn and Launch, CHMI is working with nine programs in Africa and South Asia to facilitate knowledge-sharing, joint problem solving, and the collaborative development of new approaches to address marketing, demand generation, and behavioral change challenges. CHMI partnered with the Africa Capacity Alliance to kick off the Learn and Launch program in Nairobi, Kenya, in November of 2015. The Africa cohort of programs includes: MOBIcure (Nigeria), Purple Source Health Care (Nigeria), PACE (Uganda), and Totohealth (Kenya.)

Over the course of three days, the Africa cohort heard from experts on creating successful marketing strategies for low-resource markets, approaches to developing pricing models for bottom of the pyramid consumers, and the importance of tailoring services and products to customer experiences to drive demand. Dr. Charles Akhimien, Co-founder of MOBicure said, “We face similar challenges. Seeing and sharing how each of us has been able to tackle the challenges broadens insights as we can leverage on each others’ strengths.”

Program managers visited two high-profile programs to witness how those models were tackling marketing and demand generation challenges, and to learn what they could adapt for their own programs.  From Ubuntu Afya, a primary care chain in Kibera, participants observed the importance of leveraging community participation and ownership in delivery of services to increase demand. At Jacaranda Health, a leading maternal and child health center in Kahawa West, Nairobi, programs learned how ensuring clinical quality through standardized protocols has helped to enhance customer experience and ensure quality of care. “It was probably the highlight of the workshop. I hope we can do this more times, and together we can transform health markets,” said Oludare Bodunrin, Business Development Manager of Purple Source.

On the last day of the kick off meetings, the program managers developed  work plans to guide the implementation of one of their jointly identified solutions. Each program has designed their own plans for the $5,000 implementation grant:

  • MOBIcure has decided to invest more heavily in their foot ambassadors, who sell their product in the community, to increase their reach and visibility. This will require an appropriate incentive plan for their ambassadors to ensure they reach their target goal of active subscribers on their SMS platform. They also plan to launch an aggressive social media marketing campaign to reach many new mobile users.
  • PACE will research new business opportunities that can be built into the design of the programs. They plan to incorporate technology to monitor the productivity of their community health workers, which will help promote low cost and effective service delivery.
  • Purple Source Health Care learned from Jacaranda Health that the key to operational excellence lies in a qualified and motivated staff, determined to deliver high quality customer-focused care. Just as crucial is understanding the nuances of your target market. Purple Source will develop and implement in-depth market research to better understand their customers, and are researching ways to use technology to streamline current operations to increase efficiencies.
  • Totohealth- Following presentations on appropriate pricing and customer satisfaction, Totohealth decided to expand their existing SMS-based platform to include a voice interface to appeal to a wider audience. They will consider bundling the voice and SMS service with their birthing and delivery kits for strategic marketing and pricing.

“We have a way forward to reach the number of mothers we wish to. We are now able to see the business from a holistic point of view, ensuring the product is successful in the market.” said John Malele, Marketing Director of Toto Health.  

Stay tuned for blogs on the individual Africa cohort programs and their progress, and the Learn and Launch South Asia kick off meeting recently held in Mumbai, India with ACCESS Health International.

See photos from the innovators' workshop and visits below.






By Cynthia Charchi, with Cosmas Kavinda