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Pharmacy on a Bicycle

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Pharmacy on a Bicycle

Innovative Solutions for Global Health and Poverty


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Innovative and interrelated health care improvements in developing countries can save millions of lives.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Inspiring


Millions of people in developing countries continue to die from common, easily curable diseases, but health care providers are fighting back and making a tremendous difference – while many more need support and the right strategic foundation to succeed. Marc J. Epstein and Eric G. Bing, veterans in the struggle to improve global health, offer that foundation, which they call the “IMPACTS Approach.” It provides seven guidelines or strategic handles for improving health care in developing countries: “innovation, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, demand creation, task shifting” and “scaling.” The authors explain these components and cite successful efforts that use Impacts’ principles, including the international GAVI Alliance, Child and Family Wellness outreach in Kenya and Rwanda, and Smiling Sun in India, among others. getAbstract recommends this useful and sometimes moving text to NGOs, health care practitioners, students, entrepreneurs, innovators and anyone concerned about global health.


A Tool for Action

Finding ways to provide affordable health care to the people who need it at the right place and time is a worldwide problem. Although various global funds have cooperated effectively to reduce maternal deaths and fight AIDS and other infectious diseases, countless people still die in developing countries from easily preventable illnesses and hazards. Effective measures include using mobile devices, modernizing testing and providing health care on a “franchise” basis. Despite these incremental improvements, obdurate challenges stymie attempts to provide basic health care, lessen the fragmentation of care and improve programs’ financial self-sufficiency.

This crisis demands a battle plan for improving and broadening health care at minimal cost. “The IMPACTS Approach,” a strategic response to this need, is the result of decades of investigation into developing countries’ rural and urban health care conditions, intense work in the trenches, and in-depth consultations with experts, officials and dedicated health care providers on three continents.The research that led to the Impacts Approach found that successful efforts often emerge from the collaboration...

About the Authors

Marc J. Epstein is distinguished research professor of management at Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Eric G. Bing is director of global health at the George W. Bush Institute and Professor of Global Health at Southern Methodist University.

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