Improving health and reducing inequities worldwide


Social Franchising

Social franchises are networks of private health providers that use commercial franchising methods to achieve social rather than financial goals. Building upon existing expertise in poor communities, social franchises organize multiple, existing, private providers into contractually obligated networks. These franchisees are then trained and supported to provide new, or improved, services in addition to their normal patient treatment regimens. The goals of social franchising are to improve quality, increase access to care, expand the affordability of services and rapidly increase the number of delivery points for important public health services. Over 50 social franchises now provide health services in developing countries worldwide. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations run social franchises and offer services ranging from family planning and HIV/AIDS testing, to tuberculosis treatment and the provision of safe deliveries.

The Global Health Group is working with implementers and other partners to document and evaluate this innovative platform. The Private Sector Healthcare Initiative serves as an external catalyst for the generation, interpretation, and dissemination of information related to social franchising operation and management. As part of this effort, we work to document standards and protocols of social franchises; conduct, and support others to conduct, case studies of programs; conduct operational research on franchise operations and effectiveness; support dissemination of research conducted by others; and advise on the design and analysis of franchise management information systems.

Examples of the Private Sector Healthcare Initiative’s Research on Social Franchising Include:

  • Myanmar Collaborative Studies
    The Private Sector Healthcare Initiative is partnering with Population Services International (PSI) in Myanmar to conduct a series of four studies over three years. These studies are designed to study the four goals of social franchising: quality, cost-effectiveness, equity and scale. Other study partners include Dr. David Bishai of Johns Hopkins University and GHS epidemiologist Dr. Willi McFarland.
  • Clinical Social Franchising Compendium
    In May, the Global Health Group published the Clinical Social Franchising Compendium, A Survey of Programs: Findings from 2012. The fifth annual overview highlights 74 programs operating in 40 countries, and for the first time collected data on health impact in the form of DALYs for many programs.
  • Case Study Series
    The Global Health Group partners with social franchises around the world to publish a series of case studies using a standard template to encourage comparison and cross-pollination among programs worldwide.

Since 2009, the Global Health Group has convened a growing community of practice around social franchising to foster greater understanding of and research on this innovative model. Please visit SF4Health.org to learn more.