A Microfinance Approach to Healthcare Distribution

Thumbnail Image
Degree type
Graduate group
healthcare access
medical supply chain
South Africa
medical last-mile
Community Health and Preventive Medicine
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
Health Economics
Health Services Research
Grant number
Copyright date
Related resources

Microfinance has become a global tool in providing financial support for the world’s most vulnerable. Unfortunately, a lack of stable income sources for these populations results in high rates of default, and thus, high interest rates attached to microfinance loans to compensate. Social enterprises and large corporations alike have launched micro-distribution initiatives that seek to provide local communities with means of transportation along with commercial products through microfinance loans, and in turn, these ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ distribute finished goods in order to overcome the high cost of last-mile distribution for the corporation. While this model has been typically utilized for retail businesses, given the drastic need for healthcare and the lack of existing infrastructure in many rural places across the globe, we propose incorporating this model to improve healthcare access. Specifically, we propose the creation of a platform that mobilizes and trains the large population of unemployed youth in South Africa to become community health-workers and complete deliveries of chronic medicines from pharmacies to individual households. This model has the potential to not only make a large impact in improving healthcare outcomes but can also be financially sustainable and profitable if deployed correctly.

Mark V. Pauly
Date of degree
Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Series name and number
Volume number
Issue number
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
Recommended citation