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. Social franchising focuses on five goals: cost effectiveness, equity, health impact, quality, and health market expansion. Over 90 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.
Since 2009, the Private Sector Healthcare Initiative has convened a growing community of practice around social franchising to foster greater understanding of and research on this innovative model. The Private Sector Healthcare Initiative also leads the Social Franchising Metrics Working Group (SFMWG). The SFMWG is made up of implementing and donor agencies, as well as academic and research institutions. The working group collaborates to identify, test, and advocate for the use of high-quality metrics that address the five goals of social franchising. Please visit SF4Health.org to learn more.