Gopi Gopalakrishnan

Ashoka Fellow
India,
Fellow Since 2015
World Health Partners

Citation

This profile was prepared when Gopi Gopalakrishnan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Gopi is a pioneer in unlocking the potential of existing informal healthcare providers to respond to the healthcare needs of underserved populations. His innovative social franchising and social marketing model combines the resources and strengths of the rural private and public sector to create low cost effective model for healthcare in rural areas.

Gopi sees health as both, a medical and social problem. He strongly believes that to address health issues at scale one has to factor in existing societal dynamics and build solutions around it. Towards this, Gopi’s first organization Janani that focused on family planning leveraged informal private practitioners to successfully deliver one-fourth of the family planning in the state of Bihar. As it continued to grow and scale, Gopi drew from its learning’s and design principles to create the architecture that harnesses existing local market forces to provide comprehensive health care at scale in low-income countries. He now leverages the strengths of existing players to orchestrate new relationships that create a win-win situation for all while allowing him to maintain a lean organization. Gopi has enabled such informal practitioners to talk to doctors in cities for the first time and build relationships to improve quality. This allows them to diagnose and prescribe medication to patients and provide a higher-standard of care as first point of contact. By bundling less attractive preventive care (e.g. immunization and family planning services) with economically attractive curative health care, he is also creating new economic incentives that strengthen preventive healthcare in rural areas and service people below poverty line.

Gopi has also built the local eco-system, including supply of generic drugs and diagnostic services, to support the growth of these entrepreneurial clinics. Through a network of 700 cost-effective clinics across India and Kenya, Gopi has already provided care to several thousand rural patients, 51% of who are in the two lowest economic quintiles.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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