Living Goods and PSI Myanmar team up to offer affordable, quality health care in Myanmar’s delta region

At Living Goods, we know that replication through partnerships is the fastest route to scale and impact for our innovative community health promoter model, which has been shown to reduce under-5 child mortality by over 25%. That’s why we are proud to partner with Population Services International (PSI) Myanmar with whom we are collaborating to design and launch a community health entrepreneur network that aims to sustainably increase access to affordable, quality healthcare in hard-to-reach communities. Agents are now in the field and already are reporting back big results on sales and impact.

Why Myanmar?

Myanmar has undergone a remarkable political transformation since 2011 and is poised for rapid economic growth. However, belying these promising trends is the fact that under-5 child and infant mortality rates remain persistently high, at 71 and 54 per 1,000 live births, respectively. The main causes of child deaths are diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, and malnutrition. Maternal mortality is also unacceptably high, at 200 deaths per 100,000 live births. Living Goods and PSI Myanmar are doing something about it.

Making Replication Work

Over the past year, Living Goods has worked hand in hand with PSI Myanmar, sharing how we get results in Uganda, where Living Goods has our largest network of agents. The Living Goods Partnerships team, through a series of exchange visits and advisory services, has helped PSI Myanmar understand our innovative community health entrepreneur model and how it can be adapted to a very different geographical and cultural context.

Our learning exchange created the “Win Win” Network, a close-hewn replication of the Living Goods Uganda model that seeks to embody Living Goods’ key principles: diverse product and service mix, integrated health strategy, smart incentives, clear goals and targets, rigorous agent selection, and superior performance management.

Carey (middle) and Jack (right) of Living Goods Partnerships team poses with PSI’s Zaw Min Oo while researching the local cook stove market.

We achieved a major milestone in April of this year, graduating the first class of Win Win micro-entrepreneurs from remote villages in Myanmar’s Delta Region. These micro-entrepreneurs, a mix of male and female agents, are investing capital in a diverse product basket that includes high-impact products like ORS and Zinc to treat diarrhea, oral contraceptive pills, condoms, clean water solutions, improved cookstoves, and solar lamps. These agents will earn income by selling products in their villages, some of which are accessible only by boat — requiring real innovation and ingenuity to reach the last mile.

As the network’s name would suggest, the outcome is a real “Win Win.” Villagers access innovative, affordable, high-impact products that promote better health and wealth; agents earn a steady income, gaining skills and confidence as entrepreneurs; PSI Myanmar takes a big step towards sustainability; and Living Goods scales our impact in partnership with an organization we deeply respect and admire.

PSI staff display some of the items in the diverse product mix

This is just the beginning for the Win Win Network. Living Goods and PSI Myanmar are keen to iterate on the model for continuous learning, embracing the mantra of “speedy learning” We are regularly monitoring key performance indicators to make quick decisions and changes that help us optimize product mix, recruit the best agents, and leverage cutting edge mobile technology — all to amplify our health impact. We are encouraged by the results so far, optimistic about what’s to come, and committed to achieving a real “Win Win” that improves the health and wealth of women and children not just in Myanmar, but in communities around the world.

More about Living Goods

Life-saving products and services don’t do any good unless they get in the hands of the people that need them and know how to use them. Living Goods solves the “last mile” problem by recruiting, training, and managing the performance of Community Health Promoters who go door-to-door educating customers and selling affordable life-saving and life-improving products and services. They make a profit on their sales while serving their community. The model uses an integrated product mix and has proven successful by significantly reducing child mortality. Our goal is to serve 50 million people in the next 10 years by engaging government, NGOs, and funding partners to scale and replicate this model. Visit us at livinggoods.org.

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