Posts tagged ‘health care’
GlaxoSmithKline and Pro Mujer Extend Their Alliance To Increase Their Health Care Services in Mexico
In an event held yesterday at the Hotel Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pro Mujer extended their strategic alliance to strengthen the range of joint services in more communities and standardize health care model to benefit more than 66,000 clients of Pro Mujer in Mexico.
The extension of the agreement – which covers the period 2012-2014, and includes financial support from GSK for $ 575,000 – is a result of the first partnership between GSK and Pro Mujer in Argentina in 2010 and 2011, which benefited more than 16,000 clients of Pro Mujer in that country.
In Mexico, every client of Pro Mujer will have access not only to health but also education that promotes in them a healthier lifestyle.
“This partnership responds to the principles of social responsibility GlaxoSmithKline and therefore we are proud and excited to join forces with an organization specializing in the care of women, which multiplies the potential impact we can generate in access to health and development possibilities,” said Jose Alberto Peña, Vice President and General Manager of Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline Mexico.
At the end of the project each client of Pro Mujer in Mexico will have benefited from access to Pap tests to detect cervical cancer, measuring levels of blood sugar for diabetes, blood pressure monitoring to diagnose hypertension, screening breast cancer, and measurement of body mass index to combat obesity and overweight.
With this, you fight the five chronic diseases identified as determinants of productivity loss in women: cervical cancer, breast cancer, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
“Through this initiative with GlaxoSmithKline will have the opportunity to reach more communities in Mexico where each client will find in one place the whole package of products we offer, including comprehensive health services, to lead a healthier life,” said Rosario Perez, Executive Director of Pro Mujer.
Currently Pro Mujer operates in the Mexican states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Oaxaca, State of Mexico, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Morelos and Mexico City, offering services that combine microfinance, health and development training, and benefits nearly 37,000 women. Through the agreement with GSK, Pro Mujer services in Mexico will spread to benefit more than 66,000 women and 264,000 children and family members.
By Kerry Murphy, Field Sales Supervisor and PULSE Volunteer (June – December 2010)
When I first heard Andrew Witty, the CEO of GSK, speak of the GSK PULSE initiative, I knew I wanted to participate. The initiative, which was launched in 2009, empowers employees to make a sustainable difference for communities and patients in need by giving them an opportunity to use their professional skills and knowledge during a three or six month immersion experience within a non-profit or non-governmental organisation (PULSE Partner). I was aware of the support that GSK provides to the developing world and this was my chance to be a part of that work. Andrew has since mentioned that GSK has been sending product and monetary donations to non-profits and NGOs for quite some time. However, PULSE now also sends our most valuable resource— our people. So far, PULSE has sent nearly 200 GSK employees from 26 different countries working with 58 non-profit and NGOs in 39 countries.
Like most PULSE volunteers, I chose to do a six-month international assignment. I went to La Paz, Bolivia, to work with Pro Mujer, an international, non-profit women’s development and microfinance organization with some of the most amazing colleagues with whom I have ever worked. In addition to the financial services it provides women, Pro Mujer also provides access to high-quality, low-cost primary health care services, business and empowerment training and preventive health education.
While working at Pro Mujer, my role was to evaluate how the organization purchases, distributes, stores, and sells their medications to 65 health clinics throughout the country. I then helped develop a more efficient medication purchasing, stocking, sales and tracking system. Ultimately, I lived the GSK mission of ‘do more, feel better, live longer’ by helping women and children in Bolivia to recover sooner from illness so they could return to their daily lives— working and providing for themselves and their families.
I moved to La Paz – a city that sits at more than 14,000 feet – on June 18, 2010. It is a surreal experience coming down into La Paz from the airport in El Alto. La Paz is a bowl-shaped city with apartment buildings and taxis just like any other American city I am accustomed to. However, there are of course large cultural differences. Adjusting to just about everything took some time— altitude, climate (I landed in the middle of winter), food, transportation, and general ‘Bolivianisms.’ One ‘Bolivianism’ is the ritual greeting in Bolivia. I worked in an open area with cubicles with about 12 people. The ritual greeting is a kiss on the cheek. It is a lovely greeting, yet some days I felt funny kissing 12 people…. Did I mention every single morning to say hello and every afternoon to say good bye?
You learn a lot about yourself when you are in an environment very far out of your comfort zone. I returned in December of 2010 back to the LA area of California. Although I am glad to be back, I feel different. I now appreciate more fully all that we have here and try to keep that in my daily perspective. With a global vision, I hope to bring a different outlook to my work within GSK vaccines and to my personal interactions with friends, family and strangers. I am forever grateful to GSK and Pro Mujer for supporting such a program like PULSE and the personal and professional development opportunity it provides for people like me.
I am often asked, “What one thing helped you the most with your adjustment to La Paz”? I always reply that my sense of humor helped me get through the sometimes awkward conversations, misunderstandings or outright confusion. I grew to enjoy and treasure my friends and the community I had created. Now, I miss all that made La Paz so special–my cubicle, hanging my laundry to dry, sharing a minibus with strangers on my rides to work, drinking soda and/or juice with every meal and of course– the kissing greeting.
Eight years ago, Maria and her husband were struggling to support their family in León, Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti, where 48% of the population lives below the poverty line.
An initial loan of US$48 provided Maria with the power to invest in her business and buy ingredients such as corn, beans, rice and oil in bulk.
As her business grew, Maria’s income increased and life dramatically improved for her and her family. Her children were able to stop working and instead focus on their studies.
She was able to improve their living conditions by upgrading the plastic covering on their walls with brick and her dirt floors to concrete. The primitive fire pit that she once cooked over, the smoke from which is one of the leading causes of potentially lethal respiratory illnesses, has since been replaced with a large, more modern stove.
Maria was also able to acquire a bicycle enabling her to diversify her business and travel greater distances to sell her products.
Just as Maria and her family reached a high point in their economic well-being, she suffered a major set-back. During a regular Pap screening offered through Pro Mujer’s primary health care services, she received an abnormal result. Maria was quickly referred to a surgeon and able to receive a life-saving operation.
Building upon the success of the past few years, Maria and her family continue to prepare for a brighter future.
As a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School (HBS), I was looking for an opportunity to learn about health delivery models that could be applied in Mexico – my home country. I had the fantastic opportunity to get involved with Pro Mujer on a semester-long field study with the objective of helping develop a health service offering for the organization’s Mexico operations.
This opportunity was made possible with the help of an innovative partnership between HBS and Harvard’s School of Public Health (SPH) called Project Antares. Led by Professors Michael Chu of HBS and David Bloom from SPH, Project Antares focuses on sponsoring field studies that look at commercial approaches to delivering high-impact primary health care initiatives (or “interventions” as we call them in the industry) to low-income populations in developing countries. This program provided us with access to the knowledge and advice of two remarkable experts in the field in addition to accessing funding to conduct primary research and visit field operations.
Currently in its fourth year with Pro Mujer and collaborating with Dr. Gabriela Salvador – Pro Mujer’s Director of Health and Human Development and SPH alum – our goal was to create a framework that enabled us to analyze which health offerings are most valued by customers and which ones can have a bigger impact in their lives.
Using this framework as a baseline and a health pilot model already launched in the organization’s Nicaragua operations, Pro Mujer will design a health care pilot within its current organizational structure and business model. This model will include a basket of services that maximize the health impact for Pro Mujer’s clients while balancing it with interventions that have the biggest opportunity to be profitable as well as operationally and financially scalable. If the results of such a pilot are financially and socially positive, we believe there is huge upside potential.
Project Antares brought together the expertise and brainpower of Callae Snively, Felix Lam and Maaz Shaikh from SPH as well as Margarita de la Piedra, José Hartasanchez and I from HBS. Definitely one of the most enriching experiences was working in such a diverse group, both in terms of different backgrounds as well as professional experience and skills. We really learned to leverage one another’s strengths in research, analytics and health practice knowledge.
The project got us dreaming about the fact that if we could either deliver health care to someone who is poor in a profitable way, or through the health offering, enhance Pro Mujer’s competitive position as a women’s development and microfinance organization, we could influence other organizations within the microfinance industry. This pilot as well as the one already at work in Nicaragua has the potential to show that it makes economic sense for microfinance institutions to offer health services. Competition and scalability would then follow.
Whether and when the Mexican pilot will happen remains to be answered and depends on the results of the market analysis currently underway by the Antares team, but the project reminded us of the challenges our world faces and the responsibility as leaders that we have in addressing them. For me, it was a fantastic experience to be able to apply the skills that I have acquired over these last two years at HBS and help an organization like Pro Mujer maximize the positive impact they create for women in Mexico. It was really inspiring to work hand in hand with Pro Mujer’s staff and leadership to understand the challenges that they face on a daily basis.
This project is another example of the field studies supported by HBS’s Social Enterprise Initiative which seeks to ensure that HBS becomes the best place at motivating students to become leaders who make a difference in the world.
Prior to entering HBS, Pablo Salazar worked at Pfizer Mexico for four years in Sales & Marketing. In addition to his involvement with the Antares project, Pablo worked on a field study with GlaxoSmithKline (a valued Pro Mujer partner) to define their long-term strategy in emerging markets. During his time at HBS, Pablo served as one of the main organizers of the School’s XIII Latin American Conference, which gathered diverse leaders interested in the future of the region. Upon graduation, Pablo looks forward to moving to New York and joining McKinsey & Company as a full-time Associate.
Born in Larreynaga, Malpaisillo, Teresa Centeno is a licensed nurse and health educator at Pro Mujer. With over five years working at Pro Mujer in Nicaragua, Teresa is no stranger to the excitement and challenges of being a health educator; Teresa shares her story in her own words.
Growing up, I always knew that Pro Mujer existed; I knew about the services it offered because I occasionally accompanied my mother, a client of Pro Mujer, to repayment meetings. I never imagined that one day I would work for the organization. Years later, a friend told me that Pro Mujer was looking for nurses to provide healthcare and training. I became excited by the opportunity and luckily got the job.
My first breakdown began with my debut as trainer. At one of my first Communal Bank meetings, a client made me feel bad; I felt ignored, neglected, and that my job had no real purpose. I felt like crying, and I told the head doctor at Pro Mujer Nicaragua, Dr. Martha Garcia, about it. I felt out of place. I did not think I could handle it, so I quit. All of this happened in my first 15 days on the job!
Thankfully, the staff at Pro Mujer was supportive. They knew from experience that this work is difficult. They gave me advice and encouragement. I learned to empathize with the women. Many women have various problems and have no one to share them with which, the staff explained, is often the cause of their reactions. This is what makes our job so important. We help women change their attitudes, feel empowered, take care of their health and start their own businesses, but the women struggle. This is the type of job that you have to want and love to do in order to do it well.
The attitude change that Pro Mujer promotes is not exclusive to our clients, our personnel undergoes a change as well. We learn from the women and each other, we bond. I like the idea of helping women improve their quality of life and knowing they can achieve things they once thought impossible to reach.
I have also grown close with many of the clients. We laugh together and cry together. They appreciate the services that we provide, and they appreciate how close the staff is to them. They trust me.
Now I say: my job is important, and I am going to contribute to a change that will make a difference in yesterday’s woman to that of today! I am a 24-hour leader—a leader at work, a leader of my actions, and a leader of my home—and I plan on continuing to work with this very noble cause.