In many developing countries, most people live in rural or semi-urban villages. Health education, health-seeking behavior and health expenditure are low in these communities, where women and children are especially affected by health problems.
Health problems are also amplified by poor sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and a lack of clean water. In many communities, tuberculosis, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, mother and child malnutrition, gastrointestinal problems, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension and diabetes, and an alarming rate of infant mortality are common. In India, for example, more than 65% of the population has limited or no access to healthcare, primarily due to underdeveloped healthcare infrastructure.
Healthy Family builds local, sustainable programs for healthcare in developing countries. They address social issues that impact access to healthcare, such as education, infrastructure and distribution.
Novartis Healthy Family programs are active in India, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam. Each program is unique and adapted to the country’s healthcare priorities and local customs. To be included in the respective portfolios, products need to be simple to use and tailored to the needs of underserved rural populations with a low disposable income. Currently, the portfolio includes antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia medicines as well as anti-infectives that can be used in gynecological treatments.
Moving forward, Novartis plans to evolve the portfolio to include more innovative medicines as governments decentralize tertiary care. Further, the company plans to prioritize key disease areas where it has established comprehensive programs. For example, in India, the focus will be on areas where the Healthy Family team supports ecosystems of care in diseases such as leprosy, sickle cell disease, malaria and avoidable blindness.
Since 2007, the combined outreach for all projects across the four countries has brought health education to more than 80 million people.
Beyond delivering healthcare, these integrated community health models also provide the people who work on the programs with jobs, income, and skills enhancement – opportunities that might not otherwise exist in rural communities.
Learn more about the Healthy Family programs in the 10-year Healthy Family report (PDF 2.0 MB).
Arogya Parivar – India
The Healthy Family programs started with Arogya Parivar in India in 2007. Arogya Parivar (“Healthy Family” in Hindi) works with local resources and empowers villagers to help themselves. Novartis recruits and trains locals in remote villages to become “health educators,” who help inform communities about health, disease prevention and the benefits of seeking timely treatment. Local teams also work with doctors to organize health camps in remote villages – mobile clinics that provide access to screening, diagnosis, and therapies. “Health supervisors” serve as the initiative’s local sales force, interacting with local pharmacies and doctors.
The program, which became self-sustaining in less than three years, offered more than 40 low-cost medications for communicable and noncommunicable diseases that are prevalent in rural India. The program is currently being refreshed to refine the therapeutic area focus in line with the country’s decentralization of specialty care.
Given Arogya Parivar’s success in India, Novartis rolled out similar programs in Vietnam, Kenya and Uganda. The initiative has been adapted to local market conditions and disease prevalence in each country.
Cùng Sông Khòe – Vietnam
Launched in 2012, Cùng Sông Khòe is a public-private partnership currently operating in 39 provinces in the North, Central and Mekong regions. Together with doctors in community health centers, the program educates rural people on disease prevention for several prevalent conditions, screens for early signs of NCDs (hypertension and diabetes) while also promoting better hygiene and nutrition. Cùng Sông Khòe also expands access to health services through screening resulting in patient referral and treatment.
Familia Nawiri – Africa
Familia Nawiri – Kenya
Launched in 2012 in Kenya, Familia Nawiri works with local residents, NGOs and outreach workers to address access and availability of medicines and doctors.
Familia Nawiri collaborates with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, inviting government field workers at its events to conduct their own outreach efforts. In 2019, Familia Nawiri expanded its operations in collaboration with the Christian Health Association of Kenya in two additional counties (Nyeri and Kakamega).
Familia Nawiri – Uganda
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Uganda and the Uganda Protestants Medical Bureau as the implementing partner, Novartis launched Familia Nawiri in Uganda in July 2019.
In both Kenya and Uganda, implementing partners carry out activities through teams of well-trained Community Health Facilitators, Community Health Workers and Village Health Teams.