The Viability of a Loaning-Based Delivery Model to Tackle Healthcare’s Last-Mile Challenge in South Africa
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
Health Services Research
Operations and Supply Chain Management
Healthcare access in developing countries is a severe problem due to insufficient healthcare providers and non-existent supply chain infrastructure. This problem is particularly evident in South Africa due to the disparity between urban and rural regions along with an overcrowded public healthcare system. The result is that patients in rural regions who live many kilometers away from their nearest healthcare facility are unable to access essential medicines. This paper seeks to investigate the medical last-mile challenge in South Africa as well as test the viability of a potential solution. Mobility is a platform that seeks to mobilize the large population of unemployed youth in South Africa to complete deliveries of chronic medicines from pharmacies to individual households. It seeks to do this through the facilitation of loans that are repaid gradually through service-based contracts. By speaking with numerous stakeholders within the South African medical supply chain including pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, government officials along with potential partners, we sought out to determine the potential for Mobility to revolutionize healthcare access in South Africa. Stakeholder analysis proved the validity of Mobility as a concept and clarified the specific value propositions for pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, the government as well as patients. In addition, key next steps were identified in order to implement Mobility in South Africa.