Possible Health Works for World’s Poor

Possible Health is a “for-impact” healthcare organization based in Accham, Nepal. It seeks to provide low-cost, high-quality health care to the world’s poorest people. It addresses the challenge of rebuilding the public sector health system to ultimately benefit the patient. Since starting in 2008, Possible has treated over 222,000 people. In the first quarter of 2014, Possible treated over 16,000 people, spending about an average of $20.22 per patient.

Possible functions as a partnership between the government of Nepal and the nonprofit to create a healthcare that guarantees the highest standard of treatment to the poor who cannot afford to pay for it. They use what they call a “hub and spoke” model, which allows patients to receive treatment in any of these four ways: through government hospitals, clinics, community members or referral care depending on what treatments are necessary.

For instance, Possible operates out of Bayalpata Hospital in Accham. Around the Bayalpata Hospital, they have established several clinics so that patients who live further have access to great clinical treatment closer to their homes. Trained Nepali staff are established as community members and sent out to patients’ homes to provide check-ups and follow-ups. Those whose conditions are more complicated, and who are unable to be treated by Bayalpata and its clinics are referred to other urban hospitals that have the means to do so—and those costs are fully crowdfunded so that finances are not an issue for the sick when it comes to treatment.

Choosing Accham, Nepal to pilot their program was both a strategic choice as well as jumping on an opportunity to take on a challenge. Back in 2008, when Possible was starting, Accham was one of the poorest regions in the world, where each person made less than an adjusted $0.39 USD per day, far below the world poverty line of $1.25.

And yet, despite its war-torn history and low economic performance, the constitution of Nepal held one of the most progressive and impressive health care stances in the world: the right to universal healthcare—even for the poorest among them all. The government of Nepal has invited Possible to partner with them in creating a new model of health care.

As a team, Possible loves the challenge of defying the impossible. In this case, the job was to create a healthcare model that is sustainable and effective even after providing services to the very poor.

Their strategy is groundbreaking: they identify best attributes of each sector and amplify that into their own design, which they call “durable healthcare,” that will reach the poor. For instance, the private sector is usually too expensive while the public sector is often known to provide poor-qualify services. Then there is philanthropy that comes up with innovative solutions, yet rather expensive and difficult to scale.

However, each sector does have its own forte. The government has existing infrastructure such as hospitals that can deliver effective health care. The private sector holds a standard of healthcare that everyone should receive. And philanthropy can help finance the costs!

Because Possible considers itself a for-impact, and not a for-profit, organization, they are not concerned with revenues. The only financial matter that they are concerned with replacing the costs of the services. This is done through donations and partnerships.

Possible’s motto is, “We make healthcare possible in the world’s most impossible places.” As they continue to succeed in Nepal, perhaps they will replicate it in the other impossible places of the world.

Christina Cho

Sources: Center for Health Market Innovations, Possible: Health
Photo: Quartz