The idea behind the Healthymagination Mother and Child Programme, being run by GE and the Santa Clara University's Miller Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, is to empower small business owners to develop ways of improving maternal and child healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the One Organisation, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 180 in developing countries such as those in SSA and it is 1 in 4,900 in developed countries. SSA recorded the highest number of child deaths globally with about 3-million in 2015.
Seventeen healthcare-based social entrepreneurs were selected from the SSA region for the programme, which seeks to bridge the gap between medical knowledge and practice, and 14 of them graduated. This first group of social entrepreneurs underwent an extensive evaluation process last year and proved to be adept at affecting change on a scale that could potentially develop its own momentum and staying power. They were chosen for their progressive plans to upscale the state of primary healthcare for mothers and children.
Each entrepreneur attended a three-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a six-month online accelerator programme. Weekly comprehensive monitoring from Silicon Valley-based executives and local GE business leaders ensured that the social entrepreneurs were equipped with the acumen needed to create longevity in their strategic operational processes. This involved learning business fundamentals such as creating a business plan that included projections of measurable impact, business growth and financial sustainability. This accelerator and mentorship programme culminated with a "Premier Pitch" event that took place in Nairobi in February, during which the 14 finalists presented their respective enterprises to an audience of potential investors and supporters.
Dr Efunbo Dosekun of Outreach Medical Services in Nigeria, was one of the social entrepreneurs selected for the programme. His organisation seeks to address the high rate of childhood deaths in Nigeria by setting up a chain of women and children hospitals in the peri-urban slums of Lagos. He said: "The programme has created a disruption in our organisation, changing our model to create more impact. I believe this revolution will change facility-based neonatal care in Nigeria and Africa."
GE recognised the harmful social and economic implications of the challenges faced in the healthcare sector across Africa, especially regarding maternal and child care. Together with the Miller Centre, the company hopes the social entrepreneurs are able to catalyse a cycle of positive and sustainable societal development through their various initiatives.
"The programme has been useful in opening opportunities for us to be able to expand our vision of saving lives, one life at a time. We are now in conversations with potential investors in setting up two more plants," said Dr Steve Adudans from Hewa Tele, a pioneering social enterprise focused on saving lives through the provision of affordable and accessible medical oxygen solutions to rural healthcare service organisations throughout East Africa.
"We are thrilled to graduate our first cohort of social entrepreneurs. This group of people are helping solve some of Africa's biggest health challenges through their initiatives aimed at improving mother and child care. This is another great example of the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Africa," said Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa.
"Addressing the global health challenges of women and children living in sub-standard conditions or facing high-risk pregnancies demands all the determination, diligence and creative solutions we can muster," said Thane Kreiner, Executive Director of Miller Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.
To better understand the training process, GE Reports Africa will be speaking to four of the social entrepreneurs in coming weeks, so subscribe to the blog to receive email alerts about those posts.
Call for entries for next set of graduates
Who Should Apply
- If you are a leader of a for profit, non-profit, or hybrid enterprise
- Your organisation has been in operation for 2+ years
- You deliver health services directly to mothers and children from pregnancy to paediatric care
- Or you provide supportive infrastructure, including water, energy, improved health services to mothers and children
- Or you distribute, train, use, or maintain medical equipment, develop products or technologies that improve knowledge and access to care, including telemedicine, mobile technologies, data analysis, or image interpretation, or provide infrastructure services or facilities to mothers and children.
- May 5 2017, applications due
- May 8 - June 16, interviews by phone
- June 20, finalists notified
- June 25-27, workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa
- July 31, online programme begins
- January 2018, online programme ends
- February 2018, investor showcase in Nairobi
This article first appeared on GE Africa Reports