Micro Health Entrepreneurship Model to achieve SDG3: Health and Well-being - Forhad Hossain

To ensure sustainable living on the earth we set visions in different decades. We may know about Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are the global goals to ensure sustainable living. We crossed the MDGs age and now we are working on SDGs. It was established in 2015 by United Nations. UN defines SDGs as “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Every country now working on SDGs to achieve the targets. 


Within these 17 goals, SDG 3 is about Health and Wellbeing. We know that health is one of the basic demands of humankind, but we are not focused on healthcare development as we suppose to. It appears in this COVID19, we have seen how weak our health systems are.  Half of the world's population does not have access to primary healthcare. Every year almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to health expenses. If this trend goes on like this, it won't be possible to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. To achieve SDG#3: Good Health and Wellbeing, healthcare service should be accessible and affordable for all.

This interdisciplinary research proposes a social business model based on information science and technology to achieve SDG#3, especially to ensure universal health coverage for all. Portable Health Clinic (PHC) will be used to provide primary healthcare services. PHC is a digital health service jointly developed by Kyushu University, Japan, and Grameen Communications, Bangladesh to provide affordable remote health care services in a low-resource settings. PHC has four major components: i) PHC Box (health screening devices and web communications tools, ii) healthcare workers/health entrepreneurs (mostly female), iii) PHC software (health data collect, store, and visualization), and vi) virtual doctor consultation center.

A Social Business approach will be taken to deliver this service to the unreached communities. The traditional business objective is to concentrate on wealth and profit maximization but to ensure equality and affordable service it is necessary to develop a new business model. On the other hand, charity base organizations can not sustain the long run as they are operating based on donations. Social Business is a non-loss, non-dividend, self-sustaining company that operates like a regular business but solves social problems and reinvests its dividend for social cause without giving back dividends to the owner/investor. The government-controlled healthcare service cannot fulfill the demand and efficiency especially in developing countries, and the private-controlled healthcare service model can not ensure efficient healthcare in an affordable way everywhere.

The proposed social business model can reach the unreached communities like rural people, urban ageing people, Persons with disabilities (PWDs), low wages employees and others. In this business model a health worker will be considered as Micro Health Entrepreneur (MHE) and preferably women. They will be the key health service provider to reach the unreached community. This certified health workers/health entrepreneurs have permission to provide health screening, uploading health data in PHC server and coordinating doctor consultation in online between patient and PHC call center doctor.   This social business model will support them to become an entrepreneur and to operate the service independently by making use of PHC digital healthcare system. This social business model not just addressing health issues it also designed to contribute unemployment, gender equality and women empowerment issues. The proposed social business model will experiment in one or more developing or underdeveloped countries where SDG#3 yet difficult to achieve. This is a collaborative research approach with the combination of technology, health, and social business. This social business digital healthcare service model will ensure organizational sustainability, service efficiency as well as affordability for the mass people. Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to work for social development issues, especially a desire to contribute to the development of health and well-being can lead this initiative in his/her community.

Forhad Hossain 

Researcher, SocialTech Lab, Kyushu University, Japan

E-mail: hossain.forhad.380@s.kyushu-u.ac.jp

*This work was supported by JST SPRING, Grant Number JPMJSP2136

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