Coke and Primary Healthcare

It’s a simple pleasure; ride my bike through the local communities until exhausted – which for me in this heat and with these hills doesn’t take very long. I’ll admit, at times it might have been better described as “there’s Kevin taking his bike for a walk…”

When exhausted stop at a local shop (for local people) buy an ice-cold coca-cola and drink it from the bottle.

A_simple_pleasure

It doesn’t matter where you are in Uganda, you can always find somebody selling Coca-Cola, usually from one of those red fridges and often cold. That made me think about the delivery of primary healthcare. Now I’m not about to equate the distribution and supply of a cheap commodity such as a soda with PHC, but I do think there are some principles that we could adopt.

Coca-Cola is available, accessible and affordable to all in Uganda. Those buying it can be assured of its consistent quality and the price is known to all parties before the transaction begins. Sometimes we may choose to pay more, for nicer surroundings, to have it brought to the table and served in a glass with ice – but it is just the same coke as that bought from the shop in the picture above. There is something quite equitable about this.

Healthcare planners should be seeking to ensure that primary healthcare is available, accessible and affordable to all in Uganda. It will take some effort and perhaps legislation or self-regulation to ensure a consistent quality of care. The price thing is something that should be easier to make happen. Wouldn’t it be better if there were set prices for consultation, test and treatment of the common ailments; so that those wanting to use the services know, before coming, how much they will be asked to contribute? Making it affordable, that’s the next challenge.

Isn’t it great when you get to freewheel downhill, makes all that effort seem worthwhile.

About Kevin Duffy

Interim Management and Consulting - Global Healthcare Development. Kevin has over ten years of senior management experience in the delivery of healthcare services in Africa and South Asia. His current focus is on the strategic development of policy, guidance, and tools to help healthcare organisations achieve sustainable impact – balancing the need to become financially sustainable, with the mission of ensuring equitable access to affordable healthcare services.
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One Response to Coke and Primary Healthcare

  1. Scott Cummins says:

    Bravo Kevin, you have just made important points that improve on this talk given by Melinda Gates at TED last year: http://www.ted.com/talks/melinda_french_gates_what_nonprofits_can_learn_from_coca_cola.html
    All the best from Seattle, have a wonderful week!

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