Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Mark V. Pauly


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.


microfinance, healthcare access, medical supply chain, South Africa, medical last-mile



Date Posted: 26 May 2020


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