Social Franchising: Ensuring Quality Health Care Coverage in the Developing World

What is “Social Franchising”?
Social franchising applies commercial franchising strategies to the non-profit health sector to efficiently expand access to higher quality health care that is affordable to underserved communities. Social franchising works by creating a network of health care providers that are contractually obligated to deliver specified services in accordance with franchise standards under a common brand. Social franchising improves access, quality, equity and cost-effectiveness of health service delivery via the private sector.


Many groups benefit from social franchising. Low-income communities have greater access to high-quality services at affordable prices. Private providers benefit from increased clinic revenues that are generated through an expanding clientele (i.e. increased number of clients and increased number of services being delivered per client over her/his lifetime). Governments have improved national health indicators and an enhanced stronger, better regulated private health sector.

PSI’s Unique Work in Social Franchising
PSI is a proven leader and early pioneer of social franchising. Its business model strengthens health systems. PSI launched its first franchise in 1995 in Pakistan. Today, PSI is the largest social franchising organization in the world, operating 24 franchises in Asia, Africa and Latin America with an estimated 16,000 franchisees delivering services to more than 10 million clients every year. PSI’s highly disciplined quality assurance systems were recognized for their superiority at the 2011 Global Social Franchising Conference.

PSI’s franchisees offer an integrated package of services that includes a range of family planning, reproductive health and maternal child health interventions, treatment for tuberculosis and pneumonia, HIV counseling and testing, malaria prevention and treatment, and diarrheal disease treatment. PSI’s franchises use medical doctors, as well as lower tiered health providers such as pharmacists, nurses and community health workers to serve low-income populations. PSI’s business model is based on best practices from its extensive experience with social franchising. The business model describes how PSI franchises define, create, deliver and capture value. PSI uses its expertise in social marketing to positively influence both consumer and provider behavior as it relates to seeking and delivering health services.

How does PSI measure social franchising success?
Success is measured relative to the four globally accepted objectives of social franchising – increased access to providers (scale) and services offered (scope); improved quality standards; increased equity in serving all population segments; and maximized cost-effectiveness.

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