Living Goods

Award: Most Innovative Health Market Innovation

Category: Changing Behavior

Sub Category: Supply Chain Enhancements

This program began in 2007 and is operational in Uganda. The objective of living goods is to improve access to basic health products and to dramatically reduce child mortality. Its approach of using Community health promoters goes a long way towards meeting its objective.

Community health promoters are trained to provide basic health counseling on a variety of topics to their communities and make a modest living by selling health products such as mosquito nets, water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts, vitamin A, anti-malarial drugs, de-wormers, condoms, and the like at below-market prices. To boost sales and ensure long-term sustainability, community health promoters also sell personal care products such as soap, feminine pads, and toothpaste as well as products that support household income or savings, such as solar lanterns, efficient stoves, and high-yield seeds. This way, strong connections with clients are developed to influence adoption of healthy behaviors through training, client listening and provision of a reliable source of low cost essential health products.

The program model also combines the latest and best practices from the worlds of micro-finance, franchising, and public health to create a sustainable system for defeating diseases of poverty thereby reducing illness and death by significantly improving access to and adoption of simple, proven health interventions in the many places these are scarce or non-existent. Key components of the program include: local partnerships, public health training, branding and communication.

The program has currently enrolled over 674 community health promoters, who have reached up to 450,000 community members since the program’s inception. This has resulted in increased uptake of FP services, TB screening, malaria and malnutrition prevention strategies. Which in turn have had an influence on achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1, 5 and 6.

One of the long term plan of Living Goods is to build in sustainability into the program by leveraging existing resources, assets and partnerships wherever possible; creating buying power at the retail level and building significant scale economies; bypassing middlemen in the existing distribution chain and maintaining rigorous cost discipline.