The 2016 edition of the annual Clinical Social Franchising Compendium is now available! This report offers a snapshot of the geographies served, services offered, scale, and impact of clinical social franchises in low- and middle-income countries.
For the past eight years, the Global Health Group's Private Sector Healthcare Initiative has been surveying clinical social franchising programs around the world to learn where and how they work, what health services they specialize in, who they serve, and what their health impact is.
Clinical social franchising is a model for organizing private sector healthcare providers into manageable networks using commercial franchising principles. This model of private health sector engagement has gained widespread traction since the 1990s, and is currently used in 35 countries to deliver primary care services – most often, reproductive health services.
The Compendium reports on program and performance data from 70 social franchises located in 40 countries. Several of these franchises have been operational for more than a decade, and the Compendium offers a window into their current status. Social franchises have demonstrated a commitment to transparency in reporting, and this commitment can support a genuine analysis of this intervention as a means to changing the marketplace for health.
When many of these social franchises were first designed, they were intended to promote access to under-provided health services. Many were also designed to serve the poorest populations. Some franchises are beginning to report on this outcome, and results are mixed. These data are inspiring programs to re-think who they franchise, as Matt Boxshall, director of the African Health Markets Equity partnership, notes in his commentary on why equity measurement is important.
Social franchising is one important means to creating greater public health value through the current private healthcare workforce. The Compendium can be a highly useful analytical resource for anyone interested in healthcare marketplace interventions.