In Bangladesh, the USAID-funded Advancing Universal Health Coverage (AUHC) project is transforming the nationwide Smiling Sun network of 399 clinics into a consolidated pro-poor social enterprise: the Surjer Hashi Network (SHN). Within this effort, ThinkWell leads as an Incubator to SHN providing technical support to establish the Board of Directors, SHN leadership, and staffing as well as support in the areas of governance, business planning, systems development, and growth.
The guiding vision for SHN is “A sustainable network of clinics, offering high quality, customer-oriented, and affordable healthcare services for the poor.” To attain this vision, SHN, with the support of the Incubator, is in the process of developing a business strategy and revenue generation plan, informed by market research of client and provider insights, that will focus investments on a range of services that are in response to client needs at affordable prices with a high level of quality.
Using innovative, context-specific strategies that rigorously test, evaluate, and iterate system improvements, we are strengthening the social enterprise’s capacity to respond to marginalized people’s needs. All efforts to improve services within the network will be developed through a rigorous prototyping process in the areas of service packages, affordable pricing, customer service orientation, customer acquisition, and efficiency. Successful prototypes will be scaled-up to the entire network creating growth that provides coverage and financial protection to a greater number of poor and vulnerable clients. This includes designing the delivery of research-based services and products through service delivery channels that create self-sustaining revenue generation. We are also supporting the AUHC project to monitor the impact of new systems and processes to advance universal health coverage.
The long-term sustainability and growth of SHN will depend first on its ability provide reliable and affordable high-quality services. Building on this base, it will be necessary for SHN to attract outside investments (from both private capital and the Government of Bangladesh), develop strategic partnerships, establish referral linkages to higher level health services, and diversify its business model.