Long Read

Healthy Business, Healthy Lives: from health worker to entrepreneur

Imagine you live in a remote area in Uganda where there is no doctor, pharmacy or any other place to buy medicine. How do you access information and services to prevent an treat diseases and maintain a healthy life? Healthy Business, Healthy Lives is an innovative solution to sustainably improve access to health information, contraceptives and affordable medication to combat poverty related diseases.

This business model for a sustainable medicine and health products supply-chain has been established by Simavi together with social business Healthy Entrepreneurs, local partner Emesco Development Foundation and the Kibaale District Health Office. At the start of July, the first selection of local community health workers were trained as entrepreneurs. Now the 18 participants have completed the course, received a certificate and have been equipped with an electronic tablet and essential medical kit.

Outreach health promotion

With this package, the newly trained entrepreneurs conduct health promotion in (remote) communities and offer a wide range of reliable and affordable quality health commodities at village level. The tablet is a attractive tool.  It generates a lot of attention, which helps health workers to increase the sale of products and demand for information.

“These products can improve the health of people in our communities,“ says Julius, one of the newly trained entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship and business model

During the training, health workers learnt how to use the tablet and were taught the ins & outs of entrepreneurship: how to manage stock, place an order and promote his or her mobile shop. The participants had to initially cover 25% of the total cost and will pay the rest off after one year. They are able to earn back this investment through sales of the medicines and livelihood products.

In September, Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs will visit the new entrepreneurs and train a second group of health workers. Meanwhile, our local partner Emesco Development Foundation will keep an eye on the process. They will manage the stock at the local warehouse and help with any questions or problems the entrepreneurs have.

Increased access to health information and care

This innovative business model will improve the supply of essential medicines and health products, and SRHR knowledge in Uganda’s Kibaale District. We aim to train 100 entrepreneurs and anticipate that at least 150,000 people will benefit from increased access to health information and receive better services and referral.


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