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Sustainable Health Solutions for People Living in Poverty in Latin America

To understand and maximize our impact, Global Partnerships goes beyond simply counting the number of people served. We also evaluate what approaches work, why, for whom and under what circumstances. GP then uses that knowledge to inform our investments. Part of our impact evaluation is accomplished through targeted case studies to better understand the depth and quality of the impacts delivered by our partners.

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Poor health deepens poverty by diminishing an individual’s ability to work, study and be productive. And the financial burden of obtaining health care is often catastrophic for families living in poverty, draining them of their limited resources. As such, Global Partnerships has long invested in social enterprises that deliver high-quality health education and services at prices that are affordable for people living in poverty.

But many social enterprises struggle with the difficult economics of delivering health solutions to the poor in a financially sustainable and scalable way. We worked closely with five social enterprise partners to co-design, pilot and scale the delivery of market-based health solutions to poor communities in five Latin American countries; our goal was to develop the health business models required to connect 100,000 women living in poverty with affordable access to health education, screenings, treatment, insurance, and medication.

This case study highlights the results from this three-year initiative and offers recommendations to social enterprises interested in launching or expanding their health offerings, as well as insights for funders of market-based health work. This initiative and the resulting case study were funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund at the Inter-American Development Bank.