Melissa Mattoon is in Ghana, reporting on the inaugural Global Health Corporate Champions—a multi-company cohort of eight professionals from across multiple industries providing pro bono consulting services in Accra, Ghana. Drawing from their collective expertise in management, product sustainability, operations, and finance, the team is spending four weeks embedded in three powerful, social sector health organizations focused on projects designed to increase access to quality healthcare for communities throughout the region.
The Global Health Corporate Champions is an activity of the USAID Global Health Fellows Program II, which is implemented by the Public Health Institute and supported by PYXERA Global. The program addresses immediate and emerging human capital needs in the global health sphere.
This week, I’m in Ghana catching up with the Global Health Corporate Champions (GHCC), a dynamic group of eight professionals working to improve the quality of public health in Accra. Drawing from their collective expertise in management, product sustainability, operations, and finance, the GHCC are providing pro bono consulting to three social sector health organizations. This month-long service learning adventure is an activity of the Global Health Fellows Program II (GHFP-II), a USAID program implemented by the Public Health Institute with support from PYXERA Global.
“There hasn’t been a dull minute and I worry that the time is passing too quickly,” says Thomas Lyall of the Dow Chemical Company.
I‘ve only been with the team a short time, but I can already tell what an incredible experience this has been for each of them. The team, which is made up of professionals from Dow, PwC, and PIMCO, has been effusive about Ghana, their host organizations, and their teammates. I am amazed they have only been in country together for less than three weeks.
Thomas, along with his sub-team members Tim Quagliarello from PIMCO, and Carl Hanna from PwC are partnered with HealthKeepers Network (HKN), a micro-franchise program that applies tested business methods to provide poor rural communities with access to affordable health care products, services, and information. The program is modeled after a door-to-door sales approach (think Avon), 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, from a basket on their heads. As the franchisor, HKN provides the franchisees with training on how to manage simple ailments of common occurrence, conduct sales, promote healthy living, and inform about health products among other topics. Thomas, Tim, and Carl are tasked with helping HKN re-think its business model.
“HealthKeepers Network was created to fill the health services and information gap in Ghana,” said Daniel Mensah, Executive Director for HealthKeepers Network. “Together with the Global Health Corporate Champions we can proactively create a sustainable business model so we can continue to serve the community in years to come.”
In order to reach the objective of their assignment in just one month, it has been critical that the team develop trust and understanding with HKN.
“Daniel has been wonderful. He is enthusiastic, understands how to run a successful NGO, and has solid relationships with key stakeholders. He has put us in the best possible position to make a big impact by opening up his organizational structure and finances to us,” says Tim.
With less than two weeks left in their assignment, Tim, Thomas, and Carl are hard at work finalizing the deliverables for HKN.
“Once you’re immersed in the work, build bonds with the people involved, and see the magnitude of the challenge, you feel passionate to get even more involved,” says Thomas, “It will be impossible to try to do everything, but the more you learn and see, the more you want to do.”
Stay tuned for more updates from the Global Health Corporate Champions by following along on Twitter and Facebook with #GHCCGhana
To learn more about the Global Health Corporate Champions visit:http://bit.ly/globalhealthCC
The author’s views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.