reach52 launches new medicines service in rural India
Exciting news for the start of 2021, reach52 has launched a new medicines service into emerging rural markets across Karnataka, India. Through our reach52 marketplace service, we now provide over 100,000 prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and everyday health products into these regions where traditional services and supply chains don’t reach. We equip ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers and members of the communities as our Marketplace Area Managers who promote the service and process orders via the ‘offline-first’ marketplace app. The service has been launched in partnership with 1mg, one of the leading online pharmacies in India, who will also support the delivery of products into the rural communities. As a result, the new marketplace service will enable access to medicines and health products for previously inaccessible populations.
As recently as 2018, India was ranked 145th amongst 195 countries in terms of the quality and accessibility of healthcare.1 The Government of India is committed to accelerating progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in particular through its national scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’ to elevate the overall healthcare system across India. Dr Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Country Representative to India recently stated, “As we continue to respond to the pandemic, the need is to consider the lessons learnt and re-imagine, re-align and reset our thinking and ways of working, to find new solution to rebuilding back differently a resilient health system”.2
Innovative solutions involving the public and private sector are essential to establishing accessible health services that reach everyone in India. In the last quarter of 2020, reach52 launched its health services on the ground for the first time. The initial focus has been on signing up new users to our health services and providing affordable insurance plans through our Marketplace Area Manager workforce in Kolar and Mysore. During the first 2 months of the service, over 35,000 new users were connected to the reach52’s healthcare platform and 2,500 new residents purchased affordable plans for hospitalization and personal accident insurance.
In the first quarter of 2021, this rural workforce will now be providing medicines and everyday health products as well as insurance through the reach52 marketplace service in Kolar and Mysore. Additionally, the service will be expanded to Bangalore Rural and Bilikere, Mysore, targeting an additional 160,805 people, through new on-the-ground partnerships with NGO Buzz India and the Government of Karnataka. We are focused on scaling our operations quickly during 2021 through new partnerships like this to reach many more rural communities across Karnataka and beyond in India.
Rich Bryson, reach52’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, comments “Access to quality medicines remains a challenge for too many people in rural India. After successfully establishing our on-the-ground services in Karnataka at the end of 2020, we wanted to accelerate the launch of medicines and everyday health products through the reach52 marketplace service as well. Key to this is partnering with public and private sector organisations in India who share our commitment to health for all and making this happen through innovation”.
1 – The Lancet Healthcare Quality and Access Index 2018.
Access to health services remains a key problem in rural areas and lower and middle-income countries (LMICs), where skilled health workers and digital health options are often in short supply. Focusing on the “three Cs” of health delivery — community-led, connectivity and collaborations — can help to build more flexible health systems for hard-to-reach populations.
reach52 started offering affordable insurance through our reach52 marketplace service last year. We’re now expanding our insurance range through an exciting new partnership with ProSur Insurance PLC in uninsured markets in Cambodia.
We’re delighted to announce that reach52 was selected as one of the two winners of the challenge for a novel solution leveraging our existing ‘offline-first’ health tech platform to enable tracking of COVID-19 vaccinations in low-resource settings.