Product Design and Delivery
We help foundation teams and their partners conduct market research and market testing so products and tools can be designed to meet user needs. We also help support the launch and distribution of those products, which range from contraceptive devices to HIV diagnostic tests, nutritional supplements, and tuberculosis drugs.
One example is our work in helping to plan the introduction of a new diagnostic tool and new treatment for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis). The existing diagnostic method involves a painful procedure at a hospital, and the treatment is based on an arsenic compound, which causes terrible side effects and has a 5 percent death rate. A new diagnostic tool that the foundation is co-developing is pending approval and requires only a finger prick and no lab analysis. A new treatment that completely cures the disease with 10 pills in 10 days is also pending approval. The launch and targeted delivery of the new diagnostic tool and drug will make elimination of sleeping sickness feasible within our lifetimes.
Integrated Programs and Platforms
We support efforts to design and build delivery platforms that serve the needs of multiple programs across multiple geographies. We have identified five delivery platforms, or “public goods,” that we aim to strengthen.
An outreach worker uses a cell phone to register a mother and child near Accra, Ghana.
- Community health worker programs. We provide funding, technical assistance, and performance evaluation tools to country community health worker programs to improve their quality, reach, and impact.
- Supply chains. We help countries design more effective supply chains.
- Information and communications technology (ICT). We invest in ICT systems that can help strengthen the delivery of primary healthcare and other interventions and facilitate information-sharing and behavior-change initiatives.
- Behavior change. We are exploring what more the foundation can contribute on the “demand side” to motivate healthier behaviors and increase the use of life-saving tools and technologies.
- Data systems. We invest in data systems that improve primary care systems, delivery measurement and accountability, and performance management of health systems.
One example is our investment in improving child health in Burkina Faso by strengthening community health worker productivity and performance. The effort includes providing health workers with electronic devices to help them accurately identify childhood illnesses, increase their adherence to established treatment guidelines, and strengthen the ability of district health teams to use data to manage health workers and track their performance.
Strengthening Primary Healthcare Systems
People who live in countries with strong primary care systems are healthier overall. For the poorest people, the primary care system is their main source of healthcare.
A health extension worker in Ethiopia teaches about nutrition, breastfeeding, and vaccinations.
We invest in strengthening country healthcare systems that provide treatment, prevention, promotion, and other essential services. Our focus countries currently include Ethiopia, India (Bihar and Uttar Pradesh), and Nigeria. We take a “whole systems” approach that includes both the public and private sectors. We respect and honor the choices that people in low- and middle-income countries make in terms of where they seek health services, and we aim to strengthen the quality of public, private, nonprofit, and faith-based service providers.
In India, for example, the foundation has invested in improving the performance management of the Bihar government’s primary care system via mobile training tools for community health workers; developing digital systems for recording patient data, tracking performance, managing and supervising health workers, and monitoring family planning and routine immunization coverage; and developing digital payment systems for healthcare. We also offer technical support to improve the quality of care and promote accountability.