• Awarded: 2013
  • Issue Areas: Health · Health Delivery
  • Region: Eastern and Southern Africa · Southeast Asia
  • Web:
  • About the Organization

    World Health Partners (WHP) is an international health organization whose mission is to deliver better health care within walking distance everywhere. They are committed to delivering health services, especially reproductive health services, to rural and marginalized communities in the developing world.

    WHP provides health services in low-income countries by harnessing local market forces to work for the poor. Leveraging existing social and economic infrastructure, they use the latest advances in communication, diagnostic, and medical technology to establish large scale, cost-effective health service networks.

    WHP’s market-based approach focuses on making change on a large scale by building on existing human and physical resources, combined with appropriate use of low-cost technologies, to improve access and quality of care.

    In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, India, WHP has helped create a network of over 6,500 village level entrepreneurs (rural health franchises) serving a total population of about 25 million. WHP recently launched a project in western Kenya to adapt their model to the Kenyan context.

    More than a billion people lack access to basic health care, because they live beyond the reach of existing systems.

    WHP supports health-care entrepreneurs and informal health care providers in remote rural areas in a branded health franchise.

    Gopi Gopalakrishnan's ambition is to provide the rural poor with access to affordable, high quality care within a reasonable distance

    Some 12,000 SkyCare rural providers and 1,154 SkyHealth telemedicine centers provide services to 43,942 villages.

    Ambition for Change

    The rural poor have access to affordable, high quality health care within a reasonable distance, and enjoy better health as a result.

    Path to Scale

    Franchise Growth

    The number of franchise centers has been growing at a rate of more than 40 percent per year.

    Business Model

    Franchise of for-profit clinics and centers assuring quality care through training and other franchise support, and strategically using public subsidies to allow the very poor to access the system as paying customers.

    Gopi Gopalakrishnan founded World Health Partners in 2008 to expand and build on the work of Jannai, a nonprofit he also founded, which delivers more than 20 percent of the family planning services available in the Indian state of Bihar. Gopi is an expert in bringing private-sector resources into the equation to complement public service delivery. WHP invites health-care entrepreneurs and informal health care providers in remote rural areas to join a branded health franchise. They receive training, assistance with marketing and ordering and maintaining stocks of medicines and supplies, and real-time telemedicine support from specialists and experts. Patients pay for the services. WHP provides subsidies to the very poor so that they can have access to services without changing the fundamentally commercial nature of the franchise. The network includes SkyHealth telemedicine clinics staffed by formally trained primary care practitioners, and SkyCare centers staffed by local entrepreneurs with lower levels of formal medical training. The model allows for comprehensive health-care delivery to the rural poor through clinics and centers sustained by fees and receiving enough value from the franchise’s training, technical, and logistical services to justify the cost of participation. For public agencies, contributing to subsidies that allow the poorest of the poor to access and pay for private-sector care can be a more efficient approach than attempting to build and maintain public healthcare facilities. At the time of the Award, the franchise included more than 4,500 SkyCare providers and 600 SkyHealth centers in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • In 2014, the network included 11,795 SkyCare rural providers and 1,154 SkyHealth telemedicine centers, providing services to 43,942 villages.
    • Surveys and patient responses indicate that these clinics provide improved quality of care, emphasizing preventative care and proper diagnosis and prescription. SkyHealth and SkyCare providers were less likely than others to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics for diarrhea and tuberculosis.
    • There was evidence of significantly lower incidence of both pneumonia and diarrhea in areas served by these centers. Sky patients paid 25-46 percent less for their treatment of these diseases than those served by other centers.


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